WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he expected that within three weeks, by April 12, the federal government could lift restrictions, including school closures and requiring people to work from home, that were put in place to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
"I'd love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," he said during a virtual Fox News town hall, where he fielded questions from network hosts and viewers.
The country is halfway through a 15-day period, ending March 30, that Trump initially set for limitations to slow the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing, such as limiting any public gatherings to fewer than 10 people. He said the guidelines would remain in place "a little bit longer than that."
Trump has been eager to find ways to boost the economy, which has stalled since the coronavirus began spreading across the country. Despite concerns from public health experts, the president has repeatedly downplayed the threat by comparing it to the seasonal flu, which routinely kills thousands every year. He did so again on the Fox broadcast.
"We've never closed down the country for the flu. So you say to yourself, what is this all about?" Trump said.
Public health experts have noted that the potential destruction from the coronavirus is much greater than the seasonal flu. It is considered more contagious than the flu, and the disease it can cause, COVID-19, is more fatal. Some researchers have said there could be more than 1 million deaths without strict limitations on daily life.
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