President Trump argues against another ‘blanket shutdown’ as US sees coronavirus surge

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (WJW/AP) — President Donald Trump is held a press conference Thursday evening. He is expected to provide an update on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He argued against another “blanket shutdown” of the economy amid a surge of coronavirus cases. He spoke after the government reported that the pandemic sent the U.S. economy plunging by a record-shattering 32.9% annual rate last quarter.

The president says the nation has gotten a handle on the virus but “it can come roaring back when you least suspect it.” Trump insists, though, that the economy should stay open.

He says a widespread shutdown like what happened in March and April “would no longer be the answer at all.” He adds that “small shutdowns can be very helpful” but not lengthy ones.

Trump has staked his reelection chances on restarting the nation’s economy but there are signs the recovery has stalled amid a resurgence of COVID-19.

Trump’s press briefing came just hours after he visited the American Red Cross headquarters to encourage Americans who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma.

To date, thousands of coronavirus patients have donated their plasma in effort to help other patients recover from the virus. Scientists are testing if the donations might also prevent infection in the first place. Medical experts say the jury is still out on effectiveness of convalescent plasma on both fronts.

Meanwhile, experts say the nation’s second surge in coronavirus cases appears to be leveling off. However, scientists aren’t celebrating by any means, warning that the trend is driven by four big, hard-hit places — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — and that cases are rising in close to 30 states in all, with the outbreak’s center of gravity seemingly shifting from the Sun Belt toward the Midwest.

Some experts wonder whether the apparent caseload improvements will endure. It’s also not clear when deaths will start coming down. COVID-19 deaths do not move in perfect lockstep with the infection curve, for the simple reason that it can take weeks to get sick and die from the virus.

The virus has claimed over 150,000 lives in the U.S., by far the highest death toll in the world, plus more than a half-million others around the globe.

Over the past week, the average number of deaths per day in the U.S. has climbed more than 25%, from 843 to 1,057. Florida on Thursday reported 253 more deaths, setting its third straight single-day record. The number of confirmed infections nationwide has topped 4.4 million.

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