Coronavirus: Donald Trump wants 'packed churches' in two weeks, despite dire warnings from health officials

US President Donald Trump.
US President Donald Trump. Photo credit: Getty

President Donald Trump has announced he wants the US "open" again by Easter despite the World Health Organisation warning the country could soon become the new epicentre for the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don't turn the country off," Trump told Fox News on Tuesday (local time).

"We're opening up this incredible country, because we have to do that. I would love to have it open by Easter."

Trump's deadline gives the US just two weeks to recover from COVID-19. He says he wants the country open by Easter because it's a "special day" for him. 

"Wouldn't it be great to have all the churches full?" the former Celebrity Apprentice host asked.

"You'll have packed churches all across our country... I think it'll be a beautiful time."

Trump said if the isolation lifts people will still have to keep their distance from one another, not shake hands and keep washing their hands to stop the virus spreading.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the "very large acceleration" of confirmed cases could mean the US will become the new epicentre for the deadly virus.

"It does have that potential," said Margaret Harris, a spokesperson for WHO.

As of March 22, one in three Americans are under lockdown orders, reports Business Insider.

Twelve states have issued stay-at-home notices to curb the spread of the virus but Trump has stopped short of ordering a national quarantine, saying keeping people out of work is worse for the country than the virus itself. 

"Again, the cure, this cure is worse than the problem. Again, many people, in my opinion more people, are going to die if we allow this to continue. We have to go back to work. Our people want to go back to work,' he said. 

 

At the time of publishing, the US has more than 51,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has reported more than 650 deaths, according to a tracker operated by Johns Hopkins University.

There is no data on how many people have recovered in the country.

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