Trump claims if stopping coronavirus 'were up to the doctors' the world would be shut down 'for a couple of years'

trump march 23 coronavirus press conference
  • President Trump has begun to grow impatient with the measures that are being taken to slow the coronavirus due to their impact on the economy.
  • On Monday, he said that, "We can't have the cure be worse than the problem."
  • Officials are urging Americans to practice social distancing while several cities and states have shut down restaurants and other non-essential businesses to avoid spreading the disease.
  • Trump indicated on Monday that he wants America to "soon be open for business" but health officials warn that the social distancing practices would need to be in effect for several weeks.
  • When asked about this contradiction with medical experts, Trump on Monday said, "If it were up to the doctors they may say, 'Let's keep it shut down, let's shut down the entire world.'"
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With markets flailing and Americans out of work, President Donald Trump has signaled a restlessness to end the social distancing techquines that have sent the markets flailing, but health experts say are essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

His impatience was on display at a Monday evening press conference, when he said he hoped that America would  "America will again and soon be open for business."

"We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem," he added, echoing his own tweet from Sunday night. 

Trump's remarks seem put him at odds with his own health experts, who are warning that America's fight against the coronavirus is only getting started and that the social distancing measures will need to remain in place for some time.

When a reporter followed up with Trump about those comments, and whether any doctors on his team told him that was the right path to pursue, Trump seemed to imply that he thought the measures sought by doctors were too extreme and harmful to the economy.

 

"Don't forget the doctors. If it were up to the doctors they may say, 'Let's keep it shut down, let's shut down the entire world,' because again, you're up to almost 150 countries," Trump said. "'So let's shut down the entire world. And when we shut it down, that'd be wonderful, and let's keep it shut for a couple of years,' you know we can't do that."

"And you can't do that with a country especially the number one economy anywhere in the world, by far, number one economy in the world can't do that," Trump said. "Because well, it causes bigger problems than the original that's why I talk about the cure being worse than the problem. We can't have the cure be worse than the problem."

He later implied that the limitations could be in effect for "a much shorter period of time than I've been hearing the news report."

The administration has been pushing a "15 Days to Slow The Spread"campaign that asks Americans to work from home if possible, practice social distancing, and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, among other measures. But it is unclear how long Trump will continue to press for those initiatives after the 15-day period ends at the conclusion of the month.

But top health officials have warned that America, and the world, is only starting to deal with the crisis.

As of Monday evening, there were a reported 33,404 cases and 400 deaths across all 50 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In a tweet on Monday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the "pandemic is accelerating."

On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the TODAY Show that Americans could expect to maintain social distancing and stay at home for several weeks.

"I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now it's going to be over. I don't think there's a chance of that," Fauci said. "I think it's going to be several weeks."

"When you think you're maybe overreacting, you probably are not acting as forcefully as you should," Fauci said. "So as we've always said, we've got to try very much to stay ahead of the curve."

Perhaps the most ominous warning came from Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Monday morning.

"I want America to understand," he said. "This week it's going to get bad."

 

 

Get the latest coronavirus news and updates on how COVID-19 impacts our daily lives and businesses.

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