Trump says nationwide lockdown would ‘ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a signing event for an executive order on “hiring American” in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, August 3, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump insisted Monday that shutting down the United States in an attempt to curb the coronavirus would cause more harm than good, doubling down on previous comments that he would not call for a nationwide lockdown. 

“It’s important for all Americans to recognize that a permanent lockdown is not a viable path forward producing the result that you want or certainly not a viable path forward and would ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent,” Trump said during a White House briefing on the virus. 

He said the U.S. only initially shut down to prevent the overflow of hospitals and to allow U.S. health officials and scientists to learn more about the new virus, including developing effective treatments to fight it. He said the U.S. is doing “really well” on developing coronavirus drugs and vaccines.  

While Trump said he would not shut down the U.S., he urged Americans to stay “vigilant” against the coronavirus as U.S. officials begin to see new “flare-ups” in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri.

“In our current phase, we must focus on protecting those at highest risk while allowing younger and healthier Americans to resume work and school with careful precautions. Ideally we want to open those schools. We want to open them,” he said. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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