• At least 47,000 Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, with at least 539 deaths
  • Trump says continued closures could destroy the country
  • Trimp wants things back to normal by Easter Sunday

President Trump on Tuesday signaled more strongly he will go against medical advice and lift orders that are keeping people out of stores and restaurants and working from home amid the coronavirus outbreak, saying he fears if people don’t get to work soon, it will destroy the country. Trump said he would like country to be back to normal by April 12.

At a FoxNews town hall, Trump maintained his administration had made no mistakes in handling the virus, which has infected at least 47,000 Americans and killed at least 539.

“We did not screw up. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] did not screw up,” Trump said, adding he is worried federal guidelines have gone too far.

Trump announced a series of guidelines last week, imposing a 15-day period of social distancing to slow the spread of the disease. Many of the nation’s governors, however, have implemented even more stringent actions, shutting down bars and restaurant dining rooms, ordering the closure of nonessential businesses and urging people to remain inside their homes.

Trump said Tuesday he would like to see the country open for business again fully by Easter Sunday, if not sooner.

“We’ve never closed the country before,” Trump said, urging people to keep washing their hands once they get back to their places of business. “More people are going to die if we don’t let our people go back to work.”

“If we delay this thing out, we’re going to lose more people than the situation as we know it. Our country has to get back to work. Otherwise it’s going to be hard to get it started again,” Trump said.

“People want to save their businesses. They don’t want to be locked up in a house or an apartment. … We’ve got to get it [the country] open.”

Trump said triggering a deep recession or depression will be even more damaging to people’s health.

“You will have suicides by the thousands,” he predicted. Trump called the curtailment of business-as-usual “very painful and very destabilizing.”

“People can go back to work and practice good judgment,” Trump said.

Trump said lawmakers are close to a $2.5 trillion stimulus package to soften the impact of the pandemic that provides checks to taxpayers and support for businesses.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the White House response to the virus, said the United States has done more tests in the last week than South Korea has performed in eight week, and the vast majority are coming up negative. She said the worst outbreak is in the New York-New Jersey area where the administration is helping to build hospitals to handle hospital overflows.