US President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States would not shut down in case a second wave of coronavirus breaks out, The Hill reports.
“People say that’s a very distinct possibility. It's standard. And we're going to put out the fires. We're not going to close the country. We’re going to put out the fires,” Trump told reporters during a tour of a Ford manufacturing plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, when asked if he was concerned about a second wave of COVID-19.
Trump expressed confidence in the country’s ability to contain future outbreaks, referring to them as “embers.”
“Whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out. But we’re not closing our country,” the president continued.
Trump has repeatedly made clear his desire for the country to reopen in order to address the economic damage caused by COVID-19.
Health experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, have warned of the likelihood of a second wave of the virus come fall or winter and cautioned it could be more difficult to contain a future wave that coincides with flu season.
Dr. Fauci told a Senate panel last week it was “possible” that a second wave could be as bad or worse than the current situation but expressed confidence that the government’s work expanding testing and contact tracing as well as producing critical medical equipment would well prepare the country to contend with future cases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said in April that confronting the virus in the fall would be “more difficult and potentially more complicated because we would have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time.”
More than 1.5 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 90,000 have died. The death toll is expected to reach 100,000 by the beginning of June, according to the CDC.