May 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump: "we're not closing our country" for second coronavirus wave

President Trump speaks to the press at the White House on May 21. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Thursday that while a second wave of the novel coronavirus is "a very distinct possibility," the U.S. should not issue widespread lockdowns or stay-at-home orders to fight the next outbreak.

Why it matters: This strategy would be a reversal of the administration's previous support for stay-at-home orders, most notably by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Trump has frequently hedged on how long the country should remain closed.

Flashback: "I’ll tell you what — I did something that the experts thought I shouldn’t have done: I closed down our country and our borders. I did a ban on China from coming in, other than U.S. citizens. And we did very strong checks on even our U.S. citizens," Trump said in late April, stressing the benefits of the administration's actions.

Where it stands: Fauci told the Post this week that he has "no doubt" there will be new waves of the virus, with infections possibly rising in the fall. Many scientists say a second wave may not hold until then, the New York Times reports.

  • Stay-at-home orders have been issued on a state-by-state basis, with governors deciding how long their economies can withstand shuttered business and isolated people.
  • The official White House stance on states issuing stay-at-home orders has been to defer to each governor's judgement. Nearly every state has taken steps to reopen parts or the entirety of their economy, per a NYT analysis.

What he's saying: "People say that's a very distinct possibility, it's standard, and we're gonna put out the fires," Trump said, when asked if he was concerned about a second wave of the virus. "We're not going to close the country, we're going to put out the fires.There could be, whether it's an ember or a flame, we're gonna put it out. But we're not closing our country."

Go deeper... Trump: It's "possible" some lives will be lost to coronavirus due to U.S. reopening

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Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

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Protesters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

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The big picture: The officer involved in the killing of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, after protests continued in Minneapolis for three days.

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