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Trump says "this will probably be the toughest week" of coronavirus crisis

President Trump emphasized the need to "get back to work" as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country topped 300,000 at Saturday's Coronavirus Task Force briefing, although he warned the upcoming week could be the "toughest week" so far.

"This will probably be the toughest week between this week and next week, and a lot of death, unfortunately," Mr. Trump said at the beginning of the briefing. He quickly pivoted to slamming the media, calling media outlets "fake news."

Mr. Trump also reiterated his complaint that certain states were requesting more equipment from the federal government than they needed, saying that these states "inflated" the demand.

"Some states have more ventilators than they need. They don't even like to admit it. They'll admit it when this thing is over," Mr. Trump said, without providing evidence. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters Saturday that the state had not yet received an order of 17,000 ventilators.

Mr. Trump did say that 1,000 military personnel would be deployed to New York to assist with the crisis.

"We have given the governor of New York more than anybody has been given a long time," Mr. Trump said, arguing that Cuomo isn't "gracious.

Mr. Trump again touted the use of an anti-malarial drug to combat the virus, even though health experts have cautioned there is limited evidence the drug is effective against COVID-19.

"What do you have to lose?" Mr. Trump said about hydroxychloroquine, adding that he might try the treatment himself. "I may take it! I'll have to ask my doctors about that."

The president also repeated an argument made by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, during a task force briefing Thursday, saying that the federal government was a "backup" and states should have already stockpiled their own equipment.

"Remember we're a backup. We're the greatest backup that ever existed for the states," Mr. Trump said. He blamed governors for not doing more to prepare for the crisis, saying their "cupboards were bare.

The president repeated his argument that the country should reopen its economy as soon as possible, adding that he wanted to see sports fans packing arenas "sooner rather than later." He also said that he was "thinking" about creating another task force to oversee the reopening of the economy.  

The government released its monthly jobs report for March, which showed 701,000 lost jobs, showing the economy ground to a halt last month as a result of the pandemic.

The Department of Labor announced Thursday that a record 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the week ending March 28, an increase of more than 3 million claims from the previous week.

Mr. Trump said on Saturday that he would like the next phase of legislation addressing the virus to include measures helping small businesses and the restaurant and entertainment industries.

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