White House still has no road map for restarting the economy

Trump has said the White House will move ahead with reopening the economy even without the capacity to test every American for the virus. Roughly 328 million people live in the U.S., with only 2 million coronavirus tests completed as of Friday.

Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said last week that the benchmarks might not be consistent across the country, since each area faces different challenges.

“I would not want to pull back at all in New York until I was clear that that curve really was doing what we’ve seen in other countries — a very steep decline down — and we had the capability, if there was a resurgence, of having everything in place to be able to do the containment, as opposed to struggling with mitigation with what we’ve been doing,” Fauci said at Thursday’s White House briefing. “That’s different than a relatively smaller city, town or what have you in the Midwest or mountain regions, which is generally very well controlled.”

Top economic officials, meanwhile, have been holding their own discussions on what measures they can take, either through the tax code or the easing of regulations to juice the economy once the federal government changes its advisory and no longer urges the majority of Americans to stay home.

“President Trump’s policies took this economy to record setting historic highs for all Americans but this unforeseen, unprecedented crisis has hurt many workers and businesses,” Judd Deere, the deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement on Sunday. “The President wants to see this economy open again so people can get back to work, but scientific data will drive the timeline on those decisions because his number one priority is to protect the safety and well-being of the American people.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, are among the officials urging Trump to reopen the economy as soon as it is safely possible, while Mnuchin and the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have been reaching out to executives and companies for their input.

Mnuchin said on CNBC last week that he could see the reopening happening as soon as May.