President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A president has a lot of challenging decisions to make.
But there are few as important as the decision that President Donald Trump now has to make: when to open up the economy again and begin scaling back some guidelines? Too soon, it might cost lives. Too much longer, it might also cost lives and jobs, with a destroyed economy, with whatever he decides affecting millions.
Trump indicated he was feeling the weight of that decision.
From Washington Examiner:
“I will have to make a decision, and I only hope to God it is the right decision. But I would say without question, it is the biggest decision I’ll have ever had to make,” he said during his regular coronavirus briefing on Friday.
He said he would on Tuesday name the advisers, including governors, mayors, economists, and doctors, who would help plot a course to recovery as part of what he called an “opening-up-our-country council.”
They had been trying to hedge their bets by rolling out antibody tests starting in May that could tell who was already likely immune after the social distancing guidelines that the president talked about are up on April 30.
The numbers on the virus have been scaled back multiple times, with them now thinking 60,000 is a more likely number of deaths. But they’re already talking about the curve flattening positively and we are now at about 18,000 deaths.
Dr. Deborah Birx said the curve was flattening out just as it had in Italy.
“It’s really about the encouraging signs that we see, but as encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak,” she said. “Every day, we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that because that’s what in the end will take us up across the peak and down the other side.”
While Trump said he would listen to what a council had to say, he said ultimately it was up to him.
“That’s my metrics,” he said, pointing to his head and explaining the choice he faced. “That’s all I can do. I can listen to 35 people.
“At the end, I’ve got to make a decision.”
Now the decision isn’t completely his, although he can set a course and a guide. Because it’s really the governors who have shut down their various states. So who does what will still depend upon the governors’ actions, as it should, since they are ultimately local decisions.
But once Trump takes that step, a lot will likely key off of it and the federal government’s reactions. Some of it may also depend on testing and how much and how fast they are able to do that.
But it sounds like it’s on the way. Some may not even wait that long, like Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who indicated that he would be issuing an executive order next week about opening up Texas businesses which had been ordered closed.