• Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public health officials are warning Republican leaders against ending coronavirus containment measures in order to re-start the economy, the Washington Post reported.
  • On Sunday night and Monday morning, Trump went on a Twitter tear urging the US economy to go back to business as usual as soon as next week.
  • The Post reported that Trump’s main motivation for wanting to re-start parts of the US economy stem from his concern over how economic decline would hurt his re-election prospects in November.
  • Governors and other state-level leaders are also warning that things will only get worse before they get better, as states take aggressive action to limit business activity, travel, and public gatherings. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, and other public health officials are warning Republican leaders against ending coronavirus containment measures in order to re-start the economy, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

On Sunday night and Monday morning, Trump went on a Twitter tear urging the US economy to go back to business as usual as soon as next week, putting him on a collision course with states and public-health experts who caution the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak is yet to come.

As of Monday afternoon, over 40,000 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 485 deaths. There are more than 20,000 cases in the state of New York alone. 

The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked unprecedented havoc on the US economy. Entire industries have nearly come to a standstill, the stock market has tumbled, and unemployment claims have surged as millions of Americans find themselves out of work or with severely reduced hours.

Several Republican officials and conservative media personalities have also joined the calls to reduce social distancing and stay-at-home orders so that workers in key industries can start going back to work and give the economy a boost. While the travel and hospitality industries were initially hardest hit by COVID-19, millions of other workers in the food-service, entertainment, and other sectors of the economy are losing their jobs. 

The Post reported that Trump’s main motivation for wanting to re-start parts of the US economy as soon as possible stem from his concern over how skyrocketing unemployment and economic decline would hurt his re-election prospects in November, with Trump is “fixated” on the declining stock market and “chafing” at much of the country being shut down until early summer. 

But the Post said that Fauci and other top public health officials are sounding the alarm to officials within the Trump administration and members of Congress alike that the US needs to see greater social distancing and higher rates of people staying at home in the coming weeks — not less — in order to stem the rates of infection and reduce the pressure on already-overwhelmed US hospital system. 

Late on Sunday, Trump wrote, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” adding that at the end of a 15-day period of social distancing set by the Centers for Disease Control that began last Monday, “WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

Trump then proceeded to retweet several accounts spreading misinformation about the dangers and severity of the virus, including tweets that said, “We The People are smart enough to keep away from others if we know that we are sick or they are sick!” and another user who wrote: “Correct. 15 days, then we keep the high risk groups protected as necessary and the rest of us go back to work.”

As public experts including Fauci have stressed, the highly contagious virus can be spread by otherwise-healthy people who aren’t even aware they are sick and have no symptoms, making social distancing an imperative public health policy at the current moment. 

At least one Republican member of Congress, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, agreed with Trump’s calls to restore the economy, bemoaning the “businesses closing” and “unemployment soaring” and wondering, “Which is worse, the illness or our “fix”? Americans stand up to challenges. Don’t succumb to fear! Trust in God.”

The Post reported that other prominent Republicans including Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have also expressed interest in re-starting some portions of the economy. 

And Larry Kudlow, the chairman of the National Economic Council, said in a Monday Fox News appearance that “the president is right.”

“The cure can’t be worse than the disease,” Kudlow added. “And we’re going to have to make some difficult trade-offs.” 

Governors and other state-level leaders are also saying that things will only get worse before they get better as states take aggressive action to limit business activity and shut down gathering spaces. 

“We are still in the relative calm before the storm. You are going to see the number of infections, the number of cases, increase dramatically. You are going to see an overcapacity of our health system, ” Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said in a Monday press conference.

“Once we get through that, we’ll focus like a laser on the economy,” he added.

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