Kushner predicts much of the country will be ‘back to normal’ in June
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday expressed optimism that much of the country could be “back to normal” by June as several states prepare to lift restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“I think what you’ll see in May as the states are reopening now is May will be a transition month, you’ll see a lot of states starting to phase in the different reopening based on the safety guidelines that President Trump outlined on April 19,” Kushner said on “Fox & Friends.”
“I think you’ll see by June that a lot of the country should be back to normal, and the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again,” the president’s son-in-law continued.
The ambitious timeline could be politically risky given that cases in the U.S. are still climbing and health experts have cautioned that parts of the country will have to alternate between imposing strict social distancing measures and easing them back until there’s a vaccine in order to avoid new outbreaks.
There are more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
White House officials have pushed for states to consider lifting restrictions in an attempt to jumpstart the economy, which cratered due to the pandemic. More than 20 million Americans have filed for unemployment in recent weeks, and U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) fell at a yearly rate of nearly 5 percent since the first quarter of 2019, according to data released Wednesday.
Some states have already laid out plans to begin reopening parts of the economy. Texas will let its stay-at-home order expire on Friday and allow restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses to reopen at limited capacity.
In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis (D) is lifting the state’s stay-at-home order on Friday and replacing it with a “safer at home” program that “strongly advises” people to stay home rather than ordering them to stay in. Businesses like hair salons can reopen if they have fewer than 10 people inside at a time and take other precautions.
Many public health experts and state officials have warned that more testing and contact tracing capacity is needed to safely reopen businesses. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, said Tuesday that every individual who needs a test should be able to get one by the end of May.
In the meantime, Kushner, who has led what has been referred to as a “shadow task force” on the coronavirus, asserted testing capacity is already where it needed to be for states to start lifting restrictions.
“I always find that we see the leading indicators and often the media sees the lagging indicators,” he said Wednesday. “But the leading indicators are testing, are extraordinarily positive, and I’m very confident that we have all testing we need to start opening the country in accordance with the safety guidelines that President Trump, the vice president, Dr. [Deborah] Birx and Dr. Fauci laid out on April 19.”
The Trump administration has faced intense criticism for its slow rollout of tests, its lack of a national testing strategy, and for the president repeatedly deferring to states to acquire needed supplies.
But Kushner said the federal response has featured bipartisan cooperation and been a “great success story.”
“The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story,” he said. “And I think that’s really what needs to be told.”
–Updated at 10:15 a.m.
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