President Donald Trump on Thursday said “we are not closing our country” if the U.S. is hit by a second wave of COVID-19.
His comments come on the same day that the United States reported another 2.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week That brings the total of new unemployment claims to more than 38 million in nine weeks..
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In reference to states like California which have not reopened as quickly as others Trump said, “I don’t think the people are going to stand for it.” Yet Texas, North Carolina and Arizona have reported spiking numbers of cases as they’ve moved into reopening.
“People say that’s a very distinct possibility, it’s standard,” Trump said when asked about a second wave.
In a worst-case scenario, the infection curve of COVID-19 could mimic the most deadly pandemic in American history, the Spanish Flu.
More people died during that 1918 pandemic than the total number of military and civilian deaths that resulted from World War I and, according to the CDC, the second wave in the fall was responsible for most of the U.S. deaths attributed to that outbreak.
The president made his comments during a tour of a Ford factory in Michigan which has been converted to produce ventilators.
President Trump on possible second wave of coronavirus cases:
“People say that’s a very distinct possibility. It's standard. And we're gonna put out the fires. We're not gonna close the country." pic.twitter.com/ZGCxdn6e5W
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 21, 2020
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anothony Fauci testified last week before Congress about a second wave.
“I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it from becoming an outbreak not only worse than now but much, much less,” Fauci said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said last month that battling the virus in the fall could be “more difficult and potentially more complicated because we would have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time.”
But Trump on Thursday remained confident in the country’s ability to deal with a resurgence.
“We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country,” Trump said. “We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.”
Trump appeared at the Ford factory without a mask on Thursday, despite requirements at the facility that everyone wear PPE. The president said that he had taken his mask and eye shields off to speak with the media.