President Trump on Friday defended drastic measures being taken at the local and state levels to stop the spread of COVID-19, saying they’re necessary to save lives.
“We can bring our finances back very quickly. We can't bring the people back,” Trump said at a press conference.
The number of novel coronavirus cases around the world topped 260,000 on Friday, with deaths standing at 11,113, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. had 14,631 cases and 210 deaths, although that number was ticking up nearly by the hour. Vice President Mike Pence, at the same press conference, said the coronavirus is three times more contagious than the flu.
Trump earlier this week asked the public to avoid groups larger than 10 people for 15 days. Trump on Friday defended stay-at-home orders in California and New York, saying he agreed with the governors of those states.
“The entire world is agreeing with us,” Trump said when asked what he would tell people who say drastic actions aren’t necessary. “... Everybody's doing the exact same thing [around the world].”
Actions by the federal and state governors, he said, are saving “thousands of lives and even millions of lives”
“Everybody's doing it the way we're doing it,” he said, referencing other nations. “I think we're doing a better job than hopefully most, if not all. … We'll know better in 14 or 15 days, but … you're talking about hundreds of thousands [of lives] and maybe more than that.”
The economy will rise “like a rocket ship” once the pandemic is over, Trump added.
“Once this enemy is defeated – the invisible enemy as I call it ... it’s gonna all come back to us very quickly,” Trump said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Coronavirus Task Force urged Americans to watch what is happening in Italy, which has 47,021 cases and 4,032 deaths. He pushed back on suggestions that drastic measures aren’t necessary.
"Take a look at what's going on in China, and you see what's going on right now – right now – in Italy and what's happening in New York City, I don't think with any moral conscience, you could say, ‘Why don't we just let it rip and happen, and let X percent of the people die?’ I don't understand that reasoning at all.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.