- President Donald Trump on Thursday answered a question about the potential for a second wave of coronavirus cases by saying the US was "not closing."
- "We can put out the fires," Trump said. "Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we're not closing our country."
- Trump's remarks contrast with those of Robert Redfield, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, who in an interview published Thursday would not rule out new lockdown measures, which are determined by states.
- The US has been among the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, with 1.5 million Americans infected by the virus and more than 90,000 killed.
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President Donald Trump on Thursday answered a question about the potential for a second wave of coronavirus cases by saying the US was "not closing."
"People say that's a very distinct possibility, it's standard," Trump said while touring a Ford factory in Michigan when asked by a reporter whether he was concerned about the possibility of a so-called second wave of the virus.
"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're not closing our country."
—NBC News (@NBCNews) May 21, 2020
Decisions around lockdown measures like banning nonessential business in a public-health emergency rest with states, but Trump as president has a public platform to influence states' decisions.
Under the "Transition to Greatness" slogan, Trump has for weeks been pushing for state authorities to lift tough lockdown measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, with millions of Americans out of work and businesses across the country shuttered.
But top public-health experts at minimum expect small outbreaks to continue breaking out throughout the summer, and healthcare facilities could face greater challenges in winter, during flu season.
US states have begun lifting restrictions, but there is apprehension that if the infection rates start to spike again and health services are overwhelmed, they may be hastily reintroduced — particularly if hospitals are also having to deal with seasonal flu cases later in the year.
Trump's comments contrast with those of Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday, he would not rule out the prospect of new lockdown measures.
"I can't guarantee — that's kind of getting into the opinion mode, we have to be data-driven," he said. "What I can say is that we are committed to using the time that we have now to get this nation as overprepared as possible."
And in an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, also warned of the likelihood of a second wave.
"The virus is not going to disappear," he told The Post. "It's a highly transmissible virus. At any given time, it's someplace or another. As long as that's the case, there's a risk of resurgence."
In testimony to a Senate committee investigating the federal government's response to the virus last week, Fauci said enhanced capabilities to test people infected with COVID-19 and trace those they might have infected could help to limit its impact.
"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 last Tuesday, in testimony delivered by video link.
The US has been among the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, with 1.5 million Americans infected by the virus and more than 90,000 killed, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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