US president says COVID-19 peak passed in US, country to reopen soon

US president says COVID-19 peak  passed in US, country to reopen soon
Donald Trump
WASHINGTON, APR 16 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/16/2020 7:01:56 AM IST

US President Donald Trump has said that America has “passed the peak” of new COVID-19 cases and predicted some states would reopen this month, even as the country currently is accounted for the highest number of COVID-19 deaths and infections in the world, it was reported on Thursday.

At a daily White House press briefing on Wednesday, Trump said: “While we must remain vigilant, it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working”.

“The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress.”

“We’ll be the comeback kids, all of us,” the BBC quoted the President as saying. “We want to get our country back.”

The President’s remarks come at the US has reported a total of 639,628 COVID-19 cases, while the death toll stands at 30,925, according to the latest update by the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.

In the briefing, Trump also said that he will discuss guidelines for reopening the country on Thursday, reports CNBC News.

The governors of seven states on the East Coast and three states on the West Coast have announced regional working groups to coordinate the reopening of the regions.

“My administration is using every available authority to accelerate the development, study and delivery of therapies,” he said, adding that at least 35 clinical trials of treatments were underway.

The Trump administration had previously signaled in May 2 as a possible date to reopen the nation, but the President said some states may be able to return to normalcy earlier than that, the BBC reported. When questioned about the dangers of reopening the nation too soon, Trump said: “There’s also death involved in keeping it closed.” He cited mental health issues, saying suicide hotlines were “exploding” as the economy freezes. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs due to lockdown measures across the country, and unemployment numbers are at record levels. Retail sales dropped by 8.7 per cent in March, the biggest decline since tracking began in 1992, according to government data released on Wednesday.

In Wednesday’s briefing when asked why the US accounted for such a significant proportion of the global death toll of 137,078, Trump accused other countries of lying about their mortality rate, the BBC reported. “Does anybody really believe the numbers of some of these countries?” he asked, naming China.

The President also said the US was looking into unverified reports that the COVID-19 emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan rather than in a market.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that China must show “full transparency” on COVID-19, during a call with his Beijing counterpart, Yang Jiechi, the Department of State said on Wednesday.

Pompeo has repeatedly accused Beijing of covering up the scale of the outbreak in the early days, which China denies.


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