- Senior defense officials said Tuesday morning, evidence suggests that the military should prepare for a longer period of time – around eight to ten weeks – to deal with the novel corona virus.
- Hours later, in a separate virtual town hall in the White House, President Donald Trump proposed to loosen the restrictions by Easter in less than three weeks.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Senior Pentagon defense officials said Tuesday morning that evidence suggests that the military should prepare for a longer period of time – around eight to ten weeks – to deal with the novel corona virus.
Hours later, in a separate virtual town hall in the White House, President Donald Trump proposed to loosen the restrictions by Easter in less than three weeks.
The mixed messages came when the White House gave an insight into their thinking amidst quarantine and protection policies across the country and the subsequent closure of businesses.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper spoke about the U.S. military's readiness for the corona virus and said the military was "ready to tackle it as long as the country needed us," and pointed to other countries that would spread the disease after eight to ten years Weeks of draconian measures seem to contain.
"You will probably see at least as long," said Esper. "I think we have to plan for this to take at least a few months. And we talk about all the precautions to do so that we can be there in the long run … as long as it takes."
US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed with the secretary's assessment.
"All the reports we read show exactly what the secretary said," said Milley in the virtual town hall. "You see eight to ten, maybe twelve weeks … let's call it three months based on what we know from other countries – China, Hong Kong, South Korea, etc."
"That may or may not apply to the United States … but we'll see," added Milley. "Some of it depends on what we do as a nation to mitigate it and smooth that curve."
In order to smooth the curve or reduce the burden on local hospitals dealing with coronavirus patients, the quarantines imposed by some states are required, according to health authorities. However, the move has damaged the local economy and caused concerns on Wall Street. Non-essential stores such as gyms, cinemas and shopping centers have closed. and stocks have dropped – and all profits made since Trump took office in 2017 have been erased.
Although the Trump administration has drawn up a 15-day plan to slow the spread of the corona virus, senior health officials have warned that this is insufficient to curb the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested that the earlier estimates were too conservative and that Americans should watch for self-removal beyond the original plan.
"I can't suddenly see next week or two or three weeks that it will suddenly be over," said Fauci on Friday NBC's "TODAY" Show. "I don't think there is a chance for it. I think it will take a few weeks."
Despite the warnings, Trump and his political allies have pointed to the worrying economic impact of the US economy shutdown and insisted that the White House seek ways to ease the quarantine.
"We are opening this incredible country because we have to do it," Trump said Tuesday during the Fox News-sponsored City Hall at the White House. "I would like to have it open until Easter."
Trump cited a potential "long-term financial problem" and "thousands" of suicides and said he "looks not earlier than months" but earlier.
"You can't do that with a country – especially with the # 1 economy in the world," Trump said, adding, "You can't. It causes bigger problems than the original."
Studies indicate that prematurely relaxing the restrictions on limiting the spread of a virus would increase the number of cases. A study by Journal of the American Medical Association In 2007, it became known that dozens of cities with flu epidemics increased the number of deaths once their restrictions were lifted.