While the coronavirus death toll continues to mount, the growth of new cases in New York, the hardest hit area in the U.S., is finally beginning to slow. In a podcast interview with the Wall Street Journal, Vice President Mike Pence predicted that things are only going to get better.
“We truly do believe as we move forward, with responsibly beginning to reopen the economy in state after state around the country, that by early June, we could be at a place where this coronavirus epidemic is largely in the past,” Pence said.
Looking forward to summer
“Americans are going to be able to enjoy a good summer,” he predicted.
As for how what an economic re-opening will look like in practice, the vice president pointed to plans that the administration has drawn up. “The president has the view that we’ve given those governors our very best counsel,” Pence stated. “We want to defer to the governors about what they deem to be most appropriate.”
The vice president made similar comments while speaking with radio host Rush Limbaugh on Thursday.
“I truly do believe if current trend lines hold, that by early June, we could largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us, and begin to see our nation open back up and go back to work,” Pence said, adding that growing rates of immunity suggest the nation will be “in a better place” if another wave of the virus hits.
“America wants to open”
Those words echo comments that President Trump made to reporters during his press briefing last Thursday, declaring, “America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open.”
“Based on the latest data, our team of experts agree we can start the next front in our war, which we are calling Opening Up America Again, and that is what we are doing, opening up our country, and we have to do that.”
“As I have said for some time now, a national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution,” Trump insisted, pointing out that the economy and public health aren’t entirely distinct.
“To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy. Over the long haul, you cannot do one without the other,” he said.
“Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that needs the diverse circumstances of their own states. Every state is very different,” Trump acknowledged. “If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that, and if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task and very, very quickly.”
On Wednesday, Trump expressed skepticism towards Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to re-open certain businesses, saying he feels “it’s too soon.”