Coronavirus task force doctor declines to back up Trump's timeline for easing social distancing guidelines

Brendan Morrow

President Trump claims it's possible for the United States to be "opened up and just raring to go" again in under three weeks, but one of the officials on his coronavirus task force declined to support that tight timeline.

During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Trump said he would "love" to have the United States "opened" again by Easter, which is on April 12. This comes after Trump in a Monday press conference said the United States will "soon be open for business, very soon, a lot sooner than the three or four months that somebody was suggesting."

This short timeline was revisited later in Fox News' broadcast, with anchor Bill Hemmer asking Trump if this is really possible and Trump asserting that it is, although he said that Americans would still have to continue taking precautions like "staying away from each other" and washing their hands. Hemmer then turned to Dr. Deborah Birx of Trump's coronavirus task force, asking her if the Easter timeline is "realistic."

Birx would not specifically say whether it is, instead responding that the White House will continue to "get all of the data from around the country and all of the data from around the globe and really understand what's working." She also emphasized that the White House's 15-day social distancing guidelines must continue to be followed for the next week.

NBC News notes that "public health experts and local and state leaders have cautioned against easing restrictions too early, saying it could put an enormous strain on hospitals and lead to even more deaths and economic damage." And Trump's new timeline comes a day after Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS This Morning, "We know it's going to be a while before life gets back to normal."

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