President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the Trump administration is looking to open up U.S. economy in four to eight weeks.
“Kudlow, a self-described optimist, said he hoped the economy will be able to reopen ‘in the next four to eight weeks,'” said a POLITICO report published Tuesday.
According to Bloomberg News, “Kudlow also told Fox News that the White House has begun planning how the U.S. can re-open its economy once the coronavirus outbreak abates, after indications the epicenter in New York may have reached a plateau.”
“The president would like to reopen the economy as soon as he can and we are planning internally,” the economic advisor said, according to Bloomberg.
“I am hoping — as I say, praying — that we’re only a few weeks away from a reopening. We’ll see,” Kudlow added.
The hopeful timeframe suggested on Tuesday lands outside initial timelines floated by the White House.
In the midst of the White House’s “15 Days to Slow The Spread” campaign, Trump optimistically floated a re-opening of at least parts of the economy by Easter Sunday. However, that goal was abandoned when the “slow the spread” campaign was extended to April 30.
Still, even that date looks like it will be getting a push, at least according to Kudlow.
Precautions taken against the China-originated novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, have created unprecedented economic devastation. According to jobless numbers announced last week by the U.S. Department of Labor, there were at least 10 million Americans seeking unemployment, a number expected to continue to rise.
“After 3.3 million people claimed unemployment two weeks ago, which was by far the largest number ever for the country, another 6.6 million filed for new unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to nearly 10 million in just two weeks,” The Daily Wire outlined Thursday. “The previous high was 695,000 in a week back in 1982.”
According to Nasdaq.com, the near future is even more grim: “Bank of America is forecasting a 35%+ GDP fall for the YEAR, not just Q2. The bank thinks the Coronavirus downturn is so bad that the U.S. economy will shrink 7% in Q1, 30% in Q2, and 1% in Q3, a cumulative 35.55% for the year. The downturn would be the worst to ever strike the US.”
Another unintended consequence to the shutdown has been the mass layoffs of tens of thousands of healthcare workers, which might seem contradictory at a time the nation battles COVID-19. But as highlighted by both The New York Times and The Associated Press, hospitals and healthcare facilities’ delay of so-called elective surgeries (mostly by state mandate) and non-COVID-19 related medical actions has caused a massive drop in revenue, in turn leading to at least 42,000 healthcare worker layoffs.
“Tens of thousands of medical workers across the United States are suddenly out of work as operating rooms and doctor’s offices go dark, casualties of urgent calls to prioritize coronavirus patients at overwhelmed hospitals and of the economic waves the crisis is churning,” The Associated Press reported Saturday. “Big-city physician and specialist groups, tiny independent hospitals from Oregon to Connecticut, and big multistate hospital systems such as Steward Health Care are seeing big dropoffs in revenue and laying off or furloughing hundreds of workers.”
As of Tuesday, there are 358,290 active positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with a total of 12,627 deaths. Trump has warned the public that the next week or so will be very “dark.”