President Trump listens during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Sunday, March … [+]
(Updated: 3:07 p.m. EST, March 23, 2020)
Topline: President Trump is seemingly anxious to jumpstart the economy by ending social distancing after coronavirus ravaged markets and forced millions out of work, but health experts warn that the outbreak will worsen this week and more time is needed to control it.
- The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on Saturday argued that “If this government-ordered shutdown continues for much more than another week or two, the human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine.”
- Trump tweeted in reference to the government’s 15-day social distancing guidelines (in all-caps) Sunday night: “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.”
- In a series of Monday retweets, Trump shared sentiments advocating for the economy: “15 days, then we keep the high risk groups protected as necessary and the rest of us go back to work,” one reads.
- U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, however, said Monday in an NBC appearance that “This week, it’s going to get bad,” adding, “There are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”
- The 15 day social distancing guidelines end March 30, according to the New York Times, which reported that some in the White House are pushing for ways to let people go back to work.
- Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key player in the Trump administration coronavirus task force, has said it would take several weeks before people could resume their normal routines.
Big number: 30%. That’s how much jobless claims jumped last Thursday, compared to the previous week, to over 280,000 claims. It’s the highest number of weekly unemployment claims since 2017, according to the Times.
Crucial quote: “You can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillion of dollars you’re talking about,” conservative economist Stephen Moore told the Washington Post Monday.
Chief critic: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who described Trump as a “notion-monger” who “will not take responsibility.” He is “just tossing out things that have no relationship to a well-coordinated science-based government-wide response to this,” Pelosi told the Post Monday.
What to watch for: New guidance on returning to work. The Post reported that the Centers for Disease Control will soon provide more information for how people who have been exposed to the coronavirus can return to work, likely by wearing a mask.
Key background: The coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in many ways, but specifically unique for how it forced the U.S. economy to essentially grind to a halt. Economists are revising their forecasts daily, according to the Times, while Forbes has been tracking layoffs (including some at Trump’s hotels) resulting from the pandemic. Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly told Republican senators that unemployment from coronavirus could reach as high as 20%, comments that he walked back during an MSNBC appearance.