Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Trump says he wants to "open" the country by Easter

President Trump said at a Fox News town hall Tuesday that he would "love" to have the country "opened up, and just raring to go" by Easter, or April 12, despite warnings from public health officials that easing social distancing restrictions too soon could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Why it matters: Trump is becoming increasingly frustrated with the state of the economy, and he's begun to discuss options for reopening parts of the country that have been on lockdown to help stop the spread of the virus.

  • His comments signal that he sees Easter — which is just 2.5 weeks away — as a deadline for bringing people back to work.

Between the lines: Trump's close advisers have suggested that the economy can’t sustain a shutdown for much longer.

  • Administration officials tell Axios the White House has been conducting modeling to see how the coronavirus is affecting Americans across different zip codes.
  • When the White House’s 15-day federal guidelines expire, they are discussing restarting economies in areas that aren't as vulnerable.

What’s next: As Axios Jonathan Swan reported this morning, the end of the White House's 15-day social distancing program will likely bring a serious clash between the public health experts — who will almost certainly favor a longer period of nationwide quarantining — and the president and his economic and political aides, who are anxious to restart the economy.

Go deeper: Trump's huge coronavirus gamble

Go deeper

Obama: Keep social distancing for the sake of "our medical heroes"

Obama at an Obama Foundation event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 2019. Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for Americans to stay at home and maintain social distancing for the sake of doctors, nurses and medical staff treating coronavirus patients across the country.

Why it matters: President Trump said at a Fox News town hall Tuesday that he would "love" to have the country "opened up, and just raring to go" by Easter, or April 12, despite warnings from public health officials that easing social distancing restrictions too soon could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Trump weighs plan to label counties by coronavirus "risk" level

Trump at a White House coronavirus task force briefing on March 25. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Trump administration is developing a plan to label counties across the country as "high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk" areas for the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said in a letter to the nation's governors on Thursday.

Why it matters: Against the warnings of health experts, Trump is pushing for parts of the country to lift social distancing restrictions over the next few weeks and months, believing that the economic toll of an extended quarantine will be more damaging than the virus itself.

White House urges public to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people

The White House's coronavirus task force announced tougher guidelines on Monday to help slow the spread of the disease, including limiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.

Why it matters: The tougher guidelines, which will be in place for at least a 15-day period, come as the number of reported cases in the U.S. has surpassed 4,000. President Trump said the changes to everyday life as a result of the crisis could be the "new normal" in the U.S. until July or August.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 16, 2020 - Health