President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea asking for aid, while denying any coronavirus cases: report Iranian official maintains Tehran has ‘no knowledge’ of American hostage’s whereabouts Unemployment claims surge to 3.2 million as coronavirus devastates economy MORE on Thursday said the sharp rise in unemployment claims was “fully expected” and predicted the economy would quickly rebound once the United States overcomes the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump told reporters at a White House briefing that he was not surprised by the Labor Department’s report that over 3 million Americans had applied for unemployment last week and said some people had predicted it could have been much higher.
“I heard it could be 6 million, it could be 7 million,” Trump said at a briefing on the coronavirus Thursday evening. “It’s a lot of jobs. But I think we’ll come back very strong.”
“Every day we stay out it gets harder to bring it back very quickly and our people don’t want to stay out,” Trump continued.
“I think you’ll see a very fast turnaround once we have a victory over the hidden enemy,” Trump said, using a phrase he’s employed to refer to the coronavirus pandemic.
A whopping 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, as the coronavirus forces businesses across the country to close and lay off employees as officials order people to stay home to stop the spread of the virus. Over 80,000 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 1,000 have died from the virus.
Trump has recommended that Americans avoid public places, gatherings, and travel in order to stem the spread of the virus, but the president this week has signaled he will look to loosen restrictions on parts of the country as he seeks to revive the U.S. economy.
Trump said Tuesday that he wants the country to be “opened up” by Easter, April 12, a goal that has prompted criticism from public health experts who caution it’s too soon to begin relaxing social distancing recommendations because of the risk it could allow the virus to further spread.
Trump earlier Thursday penned a letter to the nation’s governors explaining that his administration was working to label counties across the United States as high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk using surveillance testing data in order to develop more targeting guidelines.
“We’re going to have a lot more information early next week,” Trump said Thursday, asserting that many Americans want to return to work.
“They’re going to be practicing as much as you can social distancing, washing your hands and not shaking hands,” Trump said. “But they have to go back, our country is based on that.”
“We’ve got to start the process pretty soon,” Trump continued.
Officials in several states have ordered nonessential businesses closed amid the outbreak. While Trump may relax guidelines for certain areas, it would ultimately be up to state and local officials to decide whether to loosen restrictions or keep them in place.