President Trump is weighing calls from some Republican lawmakers and White House advisers to scale back steps to contain the coronavirus despite the advice of federal health officials as a growing number of conservatives argue that the impact on the economy has become too severe, according to several people with knowledge of the internal deliberations.
Loosening restrictions on social distancing would override the internal warnings of senior U.S. health officials, including Anthony S. Fauci, who have said that the United States has not yet felt the worst of the pandemic.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump said in a tweet late Sunday. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
The 15-day period is set to end on March 30.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the president’s coronavirus task force, and other leading public health experts have told administration officials and Republican lawmakers that prematurely scaling back social distancing measures would hamper efforts to mitigate the virus and would devastate hospitals, according to the people with knowledge of the conversations, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private deliberations. More than 30,000 people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus, a number expected to significantly increase in the coming days and potentially overwhelm the nation’s health-care infrastructure.
But the push to reopen parts of the economy has gained traction among Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and the House, said two people with knowledge of the matter. [Continue reading…]