President Donald Trump tweeted his support Saturday for a second coronavirus team, this one charged with laying out a plan for the country to ease out of the coronavirus-related shutdown and return to full economic power.
Fox News’ Dana Perino suggested the second task force on Twitter on Friday.
‘I think we need a 2nd task force assembled at direction of POTUS to look ahead to reopening of the economy,” the host said. “Made up of a nonpartisan/bipartisan mix of experts across industry sectors, so that we have their recommendations & plan – let 1st taskforce focus on crisis at the moment.”
Trump added, approvingly, “Good idea Dana!”
At a press conference Saturday, Trump expanded on his possible support for the project.
“Thinking about it, getting a group of people and we have to open our country,” he told reporters, per CNN. “You know, I had an expression, the cure can’t be worse than the problem itself. Right? I started by saying that and I continue to say it. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. We got to get our country open.”
The president, aware of how deeply the state-mandated shutdowns and “social distancing” guidelines have impacted the American economy, has said repeatedly that he believes Americans should return to work sooner than later, and that some difficult decisions may have to be made, weighing the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections against long-term economic damage.
Already, a record 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment and that number is expected to grow as the coronavirus shutdowns wear on. Millions more Americans are facing slowdowns, pay cuts, and business closures. The jobless rate has climbed an incredible 3,000% since the start of April. Restaurants and entertainment establishments are at a particular risk, with nearly 25% expected to shut their doors permanently because of “shelter in place” orders.
The White House hasn’t laid out any specifics of how they plan to help Americans return to work, but CNN reports that officials are considering a “phased system based on age or geographic location,” as well as a system “that targets specific types of workers to return to work, including people who drive themselves and don’t work in large groups.”
President Trump has, of course, ruled out any official policy on reopening the country, preferring to allow the current stay-at-home order, which runs through April 30th, near its end before making any further decisions.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been adamant that the White House remain flexible on even the current end date, telling a press conference Saturday that social distancing is so beneficial to slowing the spread of coronavirus that it needs to continue.
“Viruses transmit from people to people. When people are separated from each other the virus does not transmit — it doesn’t go anywhere and that’s the reason why something as simple as the physical separation … that’s our most important tool,” Fauci said. “But this is what we have to do. As sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference so we really need to continue to do that.”