U.S. President Donald Trump is poised to send the United States back to work within weeks, despite warnings from medical experts that might be premature to prevent an even wider spread of the COVID-19 virus.
"I would like to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter", which is April 12, Trump said during an interview on Fox News on Tuesday.
"We have to go back to work sooner, much sooner, than people thought," the president said, warning of the severe damage to the economy that could shave 20 to 25 points off gross domestic product.
In a subsequent White House interview with Fox News, Trump also said it would "be beautiful" to "have packed churches all over our country" on Easter, despite the warnings from the medical community that social distancing may have to continue across much of the United States for months.
At a White House briefing for reporters later in the day, Trump said he would rely on the coronavirus task force and data for setting a date that could see some sections of the country that are not hot spots for COVID-19 — such as the Farm Belt, some of the western states and Texas — released from coronavirus guidance on social distancing.
"I hope we can do this by Easter," the president reiterated.
The Democratic Party candidate that Republican Trump is likely to face in November's general election appeared incredulous when asked about the president's comment to re-open the country within weeks.
"By Easter, he wants everyone back to work? What he's talking about?" said former Vice President Joe Biden.
The United States has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases of any country after China and Italy, with about 50,000 people confirmed to have been infected and more than 600 dead.
Source : VOA