We had to put a 'stop' to the economy to save lives: WH

"We had to put a stop to the economy, it was a pause. This wasn't some economic catastrophe that organically happened. It was decided upon by the President of the United States to stop the United State economy, because we had to save 2.2 million lives or perhaps more," McEnany said.

The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report on Friday also showed the unemployment rate surging to 14.7% last month, shattering the post-World War Two record of 10.8% touched in November 1982.

It underscored the depth of the recession caused by lockdowns imposed by states and local governments in mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

Close to 76,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in the United States, with confirmed infections nearing 1.3 million, according to a Reuters tally. With an eye on the Nov. 3 election, Trump is pushing to reopen the economy even as health experts are issuing dire projections of deaths.