WASHINGTON: On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump called for a coordinated national response to the threat of coronavirus after landing in hot water for downplaying the pandemic and encouraging states to take their own course.
Trump’s call came as Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said the White House provided Congress with a major economic stimulus package and was planning to give direct payments to all Americans, as well as assistance to troubled airlines.
In an appearance of the White House that was notable for its largely calculated and sober tone, Trump praised New York and California’s Democratic Governors and excoriated states that did not adhere to strict new social distance guidelines.
“We are looking to save the maximum number of lives. Everything else is going to come back, but a life is not going to come back,” Trump said.
According to a database maintained by Johns Hopkins University, the number of U.S. cases has risen to more than 5,600 with 94 deaths.
Such statistics seemed to create a sense of urgency as schools shut their doors, companies switch to teleworking, and hospitals are planning to meet a surge of patients expected.
Trump has been consistently accused of underplaying the pandemic, particularly in its early stages, so as not to ruin the markets.
Yet he no longer tended to use the strategy and praised a dramatically improved democratic sentiment.
“It’s been a great thing to see…getting along with Democrats, getting along with Republicans,” said Trump.
“There’s been a lot of spirit with things happening that I haven´t seen in almost three and a half years.”