- President Donald Trump announced in Fox News Tuesday that he plans to reduce the social distancing guidelines to combat the corona virus by Easter.
- When asked by Fox News Bill Hemmer why he chose April 12th as the day to reopen the economy, Trump said it would be great "to have churches across our country full, despite warnings from experts, that the highly infectious virus will continue to spread throughout the country.
- On March 16, the federal government issued guidelines that recommend that Americans avoid gatherings of more than 10 people to slow the spread of the virus.
- On Tuesday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that experts believe the outbreak of the New York corona virus will peak in about 14 to 21 days. He said the virus could spread across the state for up to nine months.
- Trump repeatedly downplayed and made a number of unsubstantiated claims about the pandemic threat to public health during his town hall on Tuesday.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
President Donald Trump announced in the Fox News Tuesday that he plans to reduce the social distance policy to combat the corona virus by Easter because he wants to see "crowded churches across our country."
When asked by Fox News' Bill Hemmer why he chose April 12th as the day to reopen the economy, Trump said Easter was "a very special day for me."
"Wouldn't it be great if all the churches were full? You know that the churches are essentially not allowed to have a large church there," Trump said. "They will have packed churches all over the country. I think it would be a good time."
He added, "I'm not sure if this will be the day, but I would like to target Easter directly."
First Lady Melania Trump called off the White House Easter egg roll last week in response to the pandemic.
Scientists and public health experts agree that millions of Americans should stay home when businesses and schools close to curb the spread of the highly infectious virus. On March 16, the federal government issued guidelines recommending that Americans avoid, among other things, gatherings of more than 10 people, teach their children at home, and avoid travel.
On Tuesday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that experts expect New York's coronavirus infections to peak in about 14 to 21 days. Easter is in 19 days.
And the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the US could soon become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday that, according to Reuters, there has been "a very large acceleration" in US cases in recent days.
Trump repeatedly downplayed the pandemic threat to public health, insisting without evidence that more Americans will die if the country remains locked than if the economy is reopened and the virus spreads during a Fox News "virtual city hall" spreads further on Tuesday.
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 24, 2020
The president also insisted that the economic damage from responding to the virus would be more damaging than the loss of life – an allegation that even some of his most vocal supporters have condemned.
"We had the best economy in our country's history and then we should suddenly shut it down," Trump said, adding the response to the pandemic. "It was very painful for our country and very destabilizing for our country and we have to work again."
The president also claimed Tuesday that Americans can exercise adequate social distancing at work if they stop shaking hands and wash their hands more often.
"We have to open this country," said Trump. "We can distance ourselves socially and go to work, and you have to work a little harder, and you can clean your hands five times more than you are used to. You no longer have to shake hands with people."