Trump administration tries to tamp down fears of coronavirus resurgence

By | June 13, 2020

The Trump administration is trying to allay fears that the coronavirus again threatens to force tighter economic restrictions.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow denied the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus infections Friday. “I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They’re saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike,” he told Fox News. He added, “There is no emergency. There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 477 points Friday but was down 5.5% on the week over fears related to rising cases of the virus in some places.

Kevin Hassett, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said he has spoken to Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, and acknowledged that “there are some embers flaring up in a few places.” However, he, too, was dismissive of a second wave.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that widespread lockdowns may be needed again if coronavirus cases continue to increase.

“If cases begin to go up again, and particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more extensive mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again,” Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, told reporters on a conference call. “And that is a decision that really needs to be made locally based on what is happening within the community regarding disease transmission.”

Butler added, “We know the pandemic is not over, and even looking at some of the serology data, it’s clear that the vast majority of Americans still have not been exposed to this virus.”

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Twenty-three states have seen increases in coronavirus cases in the last week.

Both Utah and Oregon have paused their reopenings due to increases in coronavirus cases. On Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, put an indefinite hold on the phased reopening of his state. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced a pause would last only seven days. Coronavirus cases in Oregon hit an all-time high of 178 cases reported on Thursday. Utah reported 388 new cases. On Saturday, Utah hit its record for cases reported, 546. Since Memorial Day weekend, cases have risen 33% in Utah and 21% in Oregon.

Nashville will pause going into the next phase of its reopening. Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday that the city will remain in phase two of its reopening as the two-week average of coronavirus cases in the city experienced an increase. COVID-19 cases increased by 56 on Thursday in Nashville.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city is considering a new stay-at-home order as coronavirus cases are rising in Texas. He also said he was considering establishing a hospital at a football stadium for coronavirus patients. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott would have to approve any such measures. New cases spiked 2,504 in the Lone Star State on Wednesday, the most since the start of the pandemic.

New York has the lowest rate of coronavirus transmission of any state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. “This virus is spreading at the lowest rate in the state of New York of every state of America,” the Democratic governor said at his Friday press briefing. He credited New York’s “disciplined” reopening of its economy for the low transmission rate. Cuomo based his remarks on a website developed by the founders of Instagram that tracks how fast the virus is spreading in each state.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, a lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told ABC News that attending political demonstrations was “risky.” He stated, “You know, it’s a danger to the people who are trying to control the demonstration. And it’s a danger to the people who are demonstrating. So at the end of the day, it is a risky procedure.” When asked if the same applied to President Trump’s campaign rallies, Fauci replied, “I am consistent. I stick by what I say.” He advised people who insist on going to a rally to wear a mask, especially when shouting or screaming. Trump plans to have his first political rally since March on Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Dr. Li Wenliang’s widow, Fu Xuejie, announced the birth of a son on Friday. Dr. Wenliang was the Chinese whistleblower who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus. Local authorities reprimanded him in January for “publishing falsehoods.” He later died from COVID-19. “Husband, are you watching from heaven? The last gift you sent to me has been born,” Fu posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat.