US will not shut down again, says Trump, even as infections surge

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again even as several states reported rising numbers of new coronavirus infections.

"We won't be closing the country again. We won't have to do that," Mr Trump told Fox News.

His comments came after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said the United States could not shut down the economy again.

The New York Times reported that in a call with governors, Vice-President Mike Pence encouraged them to repeat the administration's claim that increased testing accounts for the spike in numbers.

The paper's analysis found that positive cases outstripped the average number of administered tests in at least 14 states.

Restaurants, gyms, schools and other locations closed down in March as the country braced for the coronavirus, which has so far infected 2.16 million Americans and killed nearly 118,000.

Florida is reporting record daily totals of new cases, even as the crowds return to the Sunshine State's beaches and hotels.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis wants tourists to return en masse to help bolster the local economy and in so doing, help Mr Trump win over voters.

But many of the visitors are not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines.

On both Monday and Tuesday, Florida confirmed more than 2,500 new cases, bringing the state's total caseload to more than 82,000, with over 3,000 deaths.

While the number of deaths per day is not rising, the percentage of positive tests is, hitting 10.3 per cent on Wednesday, compared with 5.5 per cent the week before, according to the state health department.

And tomorrow night (Sunday, Singapore time), Mr Trump takes the stage in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at his first election rally in three months.

Residents have been rattled by the prospect of a large, indoor gathering at a time when Oklahoma, along with other states, has reported a new spike in cases.- REUTERS