President Trump says the U.S. is beginning to see the "light at the end of the tunnel," as the number of coronavirus cases in the country is doubling every two to three days. The president has been signaling impatience with the ongoing business closures and stock market volatility, and on Tuesday began suggesting he wants the country "back open by Easter" on April 12.
"There is tremendous hope as we look forward and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay focused and stay strong and my administration and myself will deliver for you as we have in the past," the president said during a Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House late Tuesday.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the price tag of economic stimulus amounts to roughly $6 trillion, which includes $2 trillion for direct assistance, and roughly $4 trillion in Federal Reserve lending power. Kudlow said this will be the single-largest such Main Street financial package in the history of the country.
"This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy, provide cash injections ... to get us through a difficult period, a difficult and challenging period in the economy facing us right now but also to position us for what I think could be an economic rebound later this year," Kudlow said on Tuesday.
Asked how Easter was chosen as a target, the president said he thinks that's a "beautiful timeline," and that it marked a certain number of weeks since the White House issued social distancing and business closure guidelines.
"I just thought it was a beautiful time, a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline. It's a great day," he told reporters.
He added that the decision would be guided by health care advisers Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. Fauci told reporters that Easter goal needs to be flexible, and evaluated as the country gathers more data. And all geographic areas will not be equal: It may be that some areas may be able to relax guidelines, while other areas need to keep them very strict.
"That's really very flexible," Fauci said of an Easter target. "We just had a conversation with the president in the Oval Office talking about, you know, you can look at a date but you've got to be very flexible on a literally day by day and week by week basis, you need to evaluate the feasibility of what you're trying to do."
Fauci and Birx, the task force coordinator, emphasized the seriousness of the situation in New York. Birx said 60% of all new coronavirus cases in the U.S. are coming from the metro New York City area. Anyone coming from the New York City area should self-quarantine for 14 days, Birx said.