Donald Trump to unveil plans to reopen economy after saying US has passed coronavirus infection peak

Guidelines for resuming economic activity to be announced on Thursday

US President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 15, 2020, in Washington, DC.  / AFP / MANDEL NGAN

President Donald Trump said that data showed the United States has passed the peak of new coronavirus infections, and that he would announce new guidelines for reopening the economy on Thursday.

"The battle continues but the data suggests that the nation has passed the peak on new cases," Mr Trump said in his daily White House news briefing on Wednesday.

"While we must remain vigilant, it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working and very strongly working, I might add," he said.

The coronavirus death toll in the US - the highest in the world - surged past 30,000 on Wednesday after doubling in a week. The number of cases detected has passed 630,000.

The health crisis has hammered the US economy, overshadowing Mr Trump's efforts to win re-election in November.

The Republican president has been pushing to reopen US businesses and end orders that Americans stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. During the lockdown, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and thousands of businesses have been forced to close their doors.

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force co-oordinator, said data from across the country showed the nation “improving”, but that Americans had to recommit to social distancing to keep up the positive momentum.

Dr Birx said nine states had fewer than 1,000 cases and just a few dozen new cases per day.

The new guidelines are expected to clear the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit places. The ultimate decisions will remain with state governors.

“We’ll be opening some states much sooner than others,” Mr Trump said Wednesday.

The president claimed on Monday that he had the authority to overrule state governors and order businesses across the country to reopen.

Mr Trump's announcement followed talks throughout Wednesday with American business leaders. Many of whom warned that a dramatic increasing in testing and wider availability of protective equipment would be needed to safely resume their operations, participants in the talks told the Associated Press.

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