Trump says he wants the country to ‘open back up’ by the April 12 Easter holiday

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President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor look on, during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Sunday, March 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants to have the country getting back to business by the Easter holiday, April 12, saying the country isn’t built to sustain a longterm shut down.

“I would love to have the country opened up and rearing to go by Easter,” Trump said during a Fox News interview.

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 health and economic damage.

A White House official says the president does not view Easter, as a date that he begins opening things up, but a date by which the economy is speeding again. That means the loosening of restrictions would, under this scenario, could start much sooner. The official says the focus now remains on how to get there, in phases, to address the challenges demographically and geographically.

Trump on Tuesday expressed frustration with the economic consequences of having millions of Americans staying home and compared the coronavirus to the flu, despite public experts cautioning against the comparison.

“We lose thousands, and thousands of people a year to the flu, we don’t turn the country off every year,” he said.

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