U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (March 25) that there was no need for countrywide screening for the novel coronavirus despite a surge in diagnosed cases of the pandemic.
“We have some big problems but it’s confined to certain areas, high density areas. So why would we test the entire nation, three hundred and fifty (Million) people?” Trump said.
Nationwide, at least 60,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the highly contagious virus, with the number of deaths surpassing 940. The infection is particularly perilous to elderly people and those with underlying chronic health conditions.
As of Wednesday, the governors of at least 21 states, representing more than half the U.S. population of 330 million, have imposed restrictions designed to curb transmission of the virus by limiting congregations of people. Even before states began adopting those measures last week, the pandemic paralyzed parts of the U.S. economy and upended daily life as schools and colleges closed and workplaces shuttered voluntarily or under local government orders.
The crisis, sparking projections of a global recession amid tumbling stock prices, has put public health authorities at odds with President Donald Trump, who had pointed to a robust economy and stock market in making his case for reelection in November.
While more states joined the procession of stay-at-home orders, Trump this week has pushed to reopen commerce by April 12, Easter Sunday, and on Wednesday blamed news outlets for exerting pressure to keep restrictions in place.
Health experts have warned that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is for people to stay home.
The president softened his vow to reopen the nation’s economy by Easter, saying he’ll listen to experts first, including Birx and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
(Production: Njuwa Maina)