Trump says US passed peak, to reopen economy soon

Mayors and governors hold the power to enforce closures or not

President Donald Trump says the US has “passed the peak” of new coronavirus cases and expected some states would reopen this month.

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States approached 31,000 on Wednesday.

While President Donald Trump has leaned into his desire to reopen the nation’s economy by May 1, many of the governors and mayors who hold the power to enforce closures seem to disagree.
The president has been at loggerheads with state governors about the timing of easing restrictions and reopening businesses. He has now conceded that his powers are limited to issuing guidelines.

The Trump administration has previously pencilled in 1 May as a possible date to reopen the nation, but the president said some states may be able to return to normalcy earlier than that.

When questioned about the dangers of reopening too soon, Mr Trump said: “There’s also death involved in keeping it closed.”

He cited mental health issues, saying suicide hotlines were “exploding” as the economy froze.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs due to lockdown measures and unemployment numbers are at record levels.

Retail sales dropped by 8.7% in March, the biggest decline since tracking began in 1992, according to government data released on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the governors of Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania each issued orders or guidelines that residents should wear face masks as they venture into society in the coming weeks.

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