Trump says he will choose to relax the guidelines, not governors

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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump said Monday that he was the ultimate decision maker to determine how and when to loosen the nation’s social detachment guidelines as he became increasingly concerned about the country affected by corona viruses so soon reopen as possible.

Governors and local leaders who have introduced legal restrictions have raised concerns that Trump’s plan to restore normality will cost lives and prolong the duration of the outbreak.

Under the Constitution, public health and safety are primarily a matter for state and local officials, and it was not clear which authorities Trump might use to override their decisions. Even so, Trump has pushed to reopen the economy, which has slumped as a result of company closures, made millions of people unemployed, and fought for basic food supplies.

Trump went on Twitter on Monday, saying some say it was the governor’s decision to open the states, not the president of the United States and the federal government. Let us understand that this is wrong … it is the President’s decision for many good reasons. “

He added: “With that said, the administration and I are working closely with the governors and this will continue. A decision from me in collaboration with the governors and contributions from others will be made shortly! “

Trump made nationwide recommendations last month for most Americans to stay at home and away from each other to slow the spread of the virus. But its guidelines, which are due to expire at the end of the month, have little strength – unlike actions by governors and local leaders that impose fines or other penalties – and extend into early summer in some jurisdictions.

Trump’s claim that he can force governors to reopen their states comes after weeks of arguing that he doesn’t think he should put pressure on states that have not imposed any restrictions on staying at home. He had quoted his belief in local government control.

Some states, such as the state of Ohio and the state of Washington, have taken much stricter shutdown measures than the White House originally suggested. Others, like Florida, have waited and defied the strictest instructions. State and local officials are authorized to make the call when to relax, although Trump can exercise the influence of his office.

The discussion of a restart of the nation’s economy came when Trump resisted criticism that the social restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus could have saved lives if they had started earlier – and that new ones Cases are certain to arise when they have been relaxed.

The comments of the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, especially seemed to be causing the president’s anger.

When asked on CNN on Sunday whether previous action on social distancing and “staying at home” policies could have saved lives, Fauci partially replied: “It is very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, of course you could logically say that you could have saved lives if you had an ongoing lawsuit and started mitigation earlier. Obviously no one will deny that. But what goes into making such decisions is complicated. “

Trump published a tweet that referred to Fauci’s comments and was “Time to #FireFauci”. Trump reiterated his decision in late January to restrict travel from China and wrote, “Sorry fake news, everything on tape. I banned China long before people spoke.”

A senior official said Trump was not considering firing Fauci, but was only responding to what he felt was criticism of his leadership. The official spoke on internal discussions on condition of anonymity.

79-year-old Fauci, a career official, has become one of the best-known and most trusted faces in the federal government’s response.

In the meantime, federal officials have been working to expand the availability of tests – which could show whether someone has the virus or has antibodies that indicate that they have recovered and may be immune – to relax the guidelines on social distance .

At a conference call on Monday with the governors, Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, concerns about unused testing capacity, and encouraged hospitals and laboratory facilities to coordinate to improve testing efficiency.

Birx said vendors on a platform had the resources to run 3 million tests in the past two weeks, but only 200,000.

Pence also said that an announcement about the expected approval of antibody tests will be made later this week to determine exactly who has been exposed to and recovered from the virus.

Trump has promised to introduce a task force of state and local officials, businesspeople, economists, and health officials on Tuesday to investigate how companies can be reopened without triggering another outbreak.

Fauci had said that parts of the country’s economy could have a “rolling re-entry” as early as next month, provided health authorities can quickly identify and isolate people who will inevitably be infected. But he said he “could not guarantee” that it was safe for Americans to vote personally on election day, November 3rd.

Fauci warned that there will be people who will be infected if the restrictions weaken. I mean, that’s just reality. “

“There is always a chance that we will see an upswing next fall and early winter,” he said.

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