Trump suggests U.S. should back off on social distancing measures as soon as next week because of economic toll

by U.S. Correspondent

President Donald Trump is suggesting the United States should back off on measures meant to control the spread of the novel coronavirus as soon as next week because social distancing is hurting the economy – a message that runs directly counter to the warnings of public-health officials and virtually every other top politician fighting the outbreak.

At a White House press conference on Monday evening, Mr. Trump said the United States would face “tremendous death” because people who have lost their jobs due to social distancing will kill themselves. He minimized the threat of the coronavirus by comparing it to car crashes (“that doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody ‘no more driving of cars’”). And he said measures to contain the pandemic “will end soon.”

“We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” Mr. Trump said. “There will be tremendous death from that. Death. You know, you’re talking about death. Probably more death from that than anything that we’re talking about with respect to the virus.”

The President said he would make a decision by next Tuesday on whether to continue with social-distancing guidelines. He issued the directives last week for a 15-day period.

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