U.S. President Donald Trump waves prior to boarding Air Force One as he departs Washington for campaign travel to Minnesota at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, September 18, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the United States would not impose a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus following additional new measures imposed on businesses and residents in the U.K. to control its increasing case count.
On Tuesday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson walked back some of the lifted lockdown measures in England, telling people to work from home again if possible and ordering pubs and restaurants to close at an earlier time. He warned that the measures could be in place for up to six months if conditions don’t improve, saying the country was at a “perilous turning point.”
The U.K. reported more than 4,300 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, reaching levels last reported in early May when the country surpassed other European nations in number of coronavirus fatalities, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
“The U.K. just shut down again. They just announced that they’re going to do a shutdown, and we’re not going to be doing that,” Trump told Fox 2 Detroit during an interview at the White House Tuesday. “We understand the disease, we understand how to handle it.”
U.K. government health officials have warned of growing hospitalizations that could lead to increased numbers of deaths as people fall seriously ill and die. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement Monday that Covid-19 is “spreading exponentially, in all age groups, across the U.K.”
Cases in the U.S. have started to trend upward after weeks of declines, with more than half of U.S. states reporting growing Covid-19 cases, though some health experts say it’s too soon to tell whether the upward trend will continue. The U.S. surpassed 200,000 reported coronavirus fatalities on Tuesday, a morbid count that ranks highest among all countries globally, according to Hopkins.
In the U.S., Trump has reiterated for months that the country would not shut down following a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, claiming they would cause more harm than good. The federal government has largely left the decision to impose restrictions on businesses and gatherings to state leaders, though the president has called on them to lift restrictions on residents and reopen the nation’s economy.
The president defended his administration’s response to the nation’s outbreak and said the U.S. would have 2 million or more deaths if the nation didn’t restrict travel with other countries. However, the 200,000 fatalities is well-over the president’s estimates of a death toll “substantially under” 100,000 people earlier this year.
“Our hospitals are very low now in terms of the number of patients, which is a great thing. We have tremendous capacity and we’re making the turn,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that the daily new number of coronavirus cases remains too high as the nation nears the forthcoming influenza season. Rather than reporting nearly 40,000 cases a day, as the country is now on average, the daily figure should be below 10,000.
“Ultimately some will lead to hospitalizations and those will lead to deaths,” Fauci said during CNN’s Citizen conference on Tuesday, adding that the U.S. needs to reduce its daily number of cases “down sharply to a very low level.” “When you have a lot of cases floating around, it’s much more difficult to contain that than if you have a relatively low number.”