Trump considers reopening U.S. economy despite coronavirus spread

While President Donald Trump has sought to reassure Americans the U.S. economy will rebound, two sources familiar with the situation said on Monday that he is privately expressing concern at the damage the coronavirus shutdown is doing to the economy and is debating whether it can be safely reopened in the near future.

In a tweet late Sunday night, Trump said: “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

The Trump administration issued guidelines a week ago aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus over 15 days.

One source said Trump began talking privately late last week about loosening those guidelines after the 15-day shutdown is over because he is worried about the economic damage.

Many of Trump's Republican allies are open to the idea, but perhaps not all of them. On Monday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted: "There is no functioning economy unless we control the virus."

A push to reopen the economy after the 15-day shutdown would likely set up a clash between Trump and many governors trying to slow the spread in their states - including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and potentially put the president at odds with the country's health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said it would take several more weeks until people can start going about their lives again.

Meanwhile, the U.S. stock market continued its decline Monday, even after an unprecedented round of policy easing by the Federal Reserve. And the Dow officially marked the loss of all gains made following Trump's election on November 8, 2016.