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Trump says he hopes to have economy reopen by Easter

The Hill logo The Hill 3/24/2020 Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant

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President Trump on Tuesday said he hopes to have the country's economy back up and running by Easter — Sunday, April 12 — his most concrete goal to date for easing off restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump, in a Fox News virtual town hall, doubled down on his push to reopen businesses in a matter of weeks in order to reinvigorate the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"It's not built to shut down. Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don't want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space," Trump said during the Fox News town hall Tuesday afternoon.

"You can destroy a country this way by closing it down where it literally goes from being the most prosperous," Trump said, remarking on the strength of the U.S. economy just three weeks ago before the coronavirus started to have severe impacts in the United States.

The president on Tuesday repeatedly invoked the common influenza to justify his thinking, arguing the country is not "turned off" because of the thousands of deaths from that disease. But public health experts, including those working on the White House coronavirus task force, have warned the comparison is not analogous and that the coronavirus is significantly more contagious.

Trump appeared to argue that the alternative of letting the country sink to a major recession or depression.

Trump a day earlier signaled he was ready to begin the transition back to normal life sooner rather than later, even as the coronavirus spreads across the country and governors nationwide impose stricter measures to keep citizens from leaving their homes.

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