donald trump 700
donald trump 700

By Zachary Stieber

President Donald Trump said he’d like to have the United States “opened up” by Easter.

“I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” Trump said during a CCP virus town hall on Fox News on Tuesday.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus as the CCP virus, which causes COVID-19, because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Easter is on April 12 this year. It is 19 days away.

When asked by an anchor if getting people back to work by that time is possible, Trump said yes.

(L-R) Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Response Coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx, Vice President Mike Pence, and President Donald Trump take part in a Fox News virtual town hall meeting with anchor Bill Hemmer, from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on March 24, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think it’s possible. Why isn’t it? We’ve never closed our country before,” he said.

“We have to get our country back to work. Our country wants to get back to work. The cure, it’s like this cure is worse than the problem. People, many people, in my opinion, more people are going to die if we allow this to continue.”

A recession or a depression could cause thousands of deaths, including suicides, the president asserted. If the country isn’t opened up soon, “it’s going to be very hard to get it restarted,” he said. “We can’t lose the advantage that we have,” Trump added.

The president said the move will be contingent on people practicing social distancing measures, such as maintaining six feet of distance from others, frequently washing hands, and not shaking hands.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a radio interview earlier in the day that he gives the president public health advice, but Trump must take into account other issues.

“What the president is trying to do is balance the public health issues with the fact this is having an enormous impact on the economy of the country which may actually, indirectly, cause an incredible amount of harm and difficulty, even health-wise,” Fauci said.

“The president has the awesome responsibility of considering every aspect of this. I just give public health advice completely clean, unconnected with anything else. He has to factor in other things. And that’s the way he operates. He takes in advice from a number of people, from a number of different vantage points, and he makes the decisions.”

States around the country, including New York, California, and Illinois have forced the closure of some businesses deemed non-essential.

Trump and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force appeared at the town hall and answered questions from people around the nation.

The president told reporters on Monday that there’s a large team working on the next steps for America once medical experts give the green light to let certain regions get back to work.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media at the Javits Convention Center which is being turned into a hospital to help fight coronavirus cases in New York City on March 24, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. This is not a country that was built for this. It was not built to be shut down,” he said.

“America will again, and soon, be open for business—very soon—a lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. A lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. We’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.”

Other officials, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have said they’re making preparations for when the pandemic scales down.

But Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters in Washington that the pandemic will likely last from 8 to 10 weeks.

“We need to plan for this to be a few months long, at least, and we are taking all precautionary measures to do that, to be in it for the long haul,” he said.

“You’re looking at eight to 10, maybe 12 weeks, something like that, call it three months,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley added. “Some of that depends on what we do as a nation to mitigate it, to flatten that curve so to speak. But we, the United States military, we’re going to do this as long as the mission takes.”

New York officials reported another surge in cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 25,665 cases, including over 14,900 in New York City. Projections show the peak of illnesses in the state won’t come for another two to three weeks, Cuomo said.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States reached 49,768 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. But the country has kept the death toll low, with a mortality rate of 1.3 percent. Some countries in Europe are seeing mortality rates as high as 9.5 percent as healthcare systems collapse.

The mortality rate in America is likely even lower because, experts have said, many patients with no or mild symptoms aren’t being tested.

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