After initially cancelling the coronavirus briefing set for Monday afternoon, the White House then rescheduled the press conference, with the press secretary tweeting an update that President Donald Trump would address the nation at 5:30 p.m. to give “additional guidance and other announcements about opening up America again.”
Later speaking at a podium in the Rose Garden, surrounded by large screens on either side with the words “Opening up America Again”, President Trump, along with a panel of business leaders and health experts, detailed the procedures being put in place for a “rapid, but safe” reopening of businesses throughout the nation.
“We want to get our country open,” Trump said, emphasizing that people want to get back to work, and very soon. “There’s a hunger for getting our country back and it’s happening, and it’s happening faster than people would think.”
Trump’s most recent task force meeting was on Friday afternoon where his comments about the possibility of using ultraviolet lights and some sort of disinfectant that “knocks out [the virus] in a minute” created a furor, and much ridicule, prompting him to tweet on Saturday that he did not think the news conferences were still worth “his time and effort.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence expressed optimism that they now had enough testing capacity – due to the public-private partnership of health corporations – to gradually start opening different sections of the country based on infection rates and White House phasing guidelines .
“We are confident we have enough testing to begin reopening. We want to get our country open and testing will not be a problem at all,” Trump said. “Ensuring the health of our economy is vital to ensuring the health of our nation..these goals work in tandem, the work side by side.”
Pence said that 200,000 test results were achieved on Saturday alone with over 5.4 million total completed, more than any other nation in the world.
Nationwide however, many states still struggle with testing capacity, even as governors debate reopening many businesses and schools as infection rates dips and residents are increasingly restless, many demanding to be freed from the crushing long weeks of lockdown.
In New York, 337 people died on Monday from the Covid-19 disease. With over 292,000 reported cases of infection and 17,303 deaths, New York still has the highest rates of infection in the country. Nationwide, there are 977,256 cases with over 50,000 reported deaths and the worldwide toll reaching 3 million people infected with over 202,000 fatalities
While the 337 deaths in New York was the lowest number since March 30, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the number was still “tragically high” and does not “give any solace to 337 families that are suffering today.”