Trump pushes for reopening economy

President says crisis has peaked; union and business leaders caution against early lifting of curbs

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to announce new guidelines to reopen the economy after a monthlong shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak, despite concerns from health experts, Governors and business leaders about a resurgence in cases without more testing and protocols in place.

Mr. Trump announced his decision to push States to lift stay-at-home and other restrictions that were imposed last month to halt the spread of the highly contagious disease as the number of deaths in the U.S. approached 31,000 on Wednesday — more than any other nation.

States’ orders have also crushed the nation’s economy to levels not seen since the Great Depression nearly a century ago as a record more than 20 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits amid shuttered stores and restaurants, including another 5.2 million who filed for aid in the past week, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.2%.

The Republican President is scheduled to hold a call with the nation's Governors at 3 p.m. local time and said he would announce his plan at a news conference later on Thursday.

Thursday’s unemployment data comes on the heels of retail data one day earlier showing a record drop in sales and the lowest factory output since the end of Second World War, further pressuring Mr. Trump, who had staked his reelection in November on the strength of the U.S. economy.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said data suggested new cases have peaked and that industry leaders in a round of calls offered him good insights into how to safely restart the economy. But the head of a major union warned the President not to reopen unless worker safety can be ensured, and chief executives from some of the biggest firms told Mr. Trump more testing was needed to guarantee safety, according to media reports.

Strong place

“We’re in a strong place, and I can assure you that the guidance being put out today is in line with what the experts are saying, it's in line with what the data is showing and it's a plan to put this economy back on track,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News on Thursday.

More than 6,35,000 total U.S. cases have been reported across all 50 States. But not all States have been struck equally, as New York and others have been hit particularly hard. Even within States disparities are being seen in more urban and poorer areas.

That divide has inflamed political divisions as political leaders debate how and when to begin unwinding unprecedented lockdowns and prompting protests organised by conservative and pro-Trump groups against some State leaders who opted to keep residents at home.

States, meanwhile, are seeking $500 billion more in e fiscal relief from Congress.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:14:01 PM |

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