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Mike Pence says coronavirus pandemic will be 'largely' behind us by Memorial Day - as Texas prepares to re-open retailers this week

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4/24/2020 Lauren Edmonds and Emily Crane For Dailymail.com
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Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic could be 'largely' behind Americans as early as Memorial Day Weekend. 

Pence's remarks come as Texas partially re-opened its economy this week despite the number of COVID-19 infections still rising. 

'Am I going to be on my boat and fishing in early June, Mr. Vice President?' asked Geraldo Rivera of Fox News on his radio show.  

'If you look at the trends today, I think by Memorial Day Weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us,' Pence said. 

'State and local officials will begin to reopen activities, you’re going to see states ahead here begin to do that.' 

Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Daily Mail

Pence, who is chair of the White House coronavirus task force, appeared to be doubling down on similar comments he made this week about the COVID-19 outbreak.

During an interview on The Wall Street Journal podcast, Pence claimed that the worst of the outbreak could be behind the United States in June. 

'We truly do believe as we move forward, with responsibly beginning to reopen the economy in state after state around the country, that by early June, we could be at a place where this coronavirus epidemic is largely in the past,' said Pence.

'Americans are going to be able to enjoy a good summer,' he added.

a close up of text on a white background © Provided by Daily Mail

He made similar comments on Thursday in an interview with conservative radio show host, Rush Limbaugh.  

He told Limbaugh that a large number of Americans might have already been exposed to COVID-19 and could experience a 'degree of immunity.'

'There is a high likelihood that if you’ve had this coronavirus in the past, that you will enjoy some immunity from it in the future,' he said. 

'It’s among the reasons why our nation, should the coronavirus reemerge at any time in the future, our nation will be in a much better place. 

'If some of those early studies hold out, there will be an awful lot of Americans in the fall and in the winter of next year that actually enjoy a degree of immunity from the coronavirus. That will be a bulwark against this.'

In the United States, officials have recorded 871,818 confirmed cases and 49,099 deaths. 

States like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts were especially hard-hit, with an accumulated 402,000 infections between the three places. 

Slideshow by photo services

President Donald Trump extended the coronavirus shutdown - which has seen the closure of all non-essential businesses and stay-at-home orders - through April 30. 

Some states announced that they would be re-opening parts of their economy as early as this week. 

In response to re-opening the economy, Trump unveiled a three-phase guideline.   

Ultimately, the Trump administration said governors will decide when it's safe tor re-open state economies. 

Texas announced that it would be the first state to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Colorado and Tennessee following suit. 

Texas re-opened state parks on April 20 and retailers have been given the OK to re-open on April 24.  

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia revealed that state would re-open gyms, barbershops and nail salons next week.

Trump said he 'strongly disagreed' with Kemp's move to re-open Georgia so soon and that it was in 'violation of the Phase I guidelines.'

The guidelines suggest that states should record two weeks of declining cases before reopening. 

a close up of a map © Provided by Daily Mail

None of the states that are reopening have yet to record such a decline. 

Meanwhile, only 17 states have contained the spread of COVID-19, according to new infection rate data. 

Pennsylvania, Virginia and Vermont have had the most success in reducing the spread, the Rt.Live charts show.

The data indicates that all seven states that currently have no stay-at-home orders - Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming - are among the states with the higher rates of secondary infections. 

The charts, launched this week by Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, use effective reproduction (Rt) metrics in each state, as well as Washington D.C., to show how the spread of coronavirus across the US has shifted since early March.

According to the data, New York - the epicenter of the US outbreak - has a 0.9 effective reproduction rate, which is one of the lowest across the country.

New York state, which has more than 257,000 confirmed cases, has had aggressive lockdown measures in place since mid-March that aren't due to expire until at least May 15.

Meanwhile Georgia, whose governor is planning to lift lockdown measures this week despite objections from health officials, has a 1.03 effective reproduction rate. 

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