As the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns the US could be the next coronavirus epicentre following a surge in cases and deaths to 43,925 cases and 547 respectively, Donald Trump is under fire for hinting at a return to business as usual within weeks, prioritising the health of the economy over that of American citizens.

“We are watching a train wreck in slow motion,” commented former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub. “If Trump carries through on this threat to ‘open’ things up real soon, the death toll will be catastrophic.”

On Capitol Hill, Republican and Democratic senators have assured the public they are “very close” to agreeing terms on a $2trn (£1.7trn) stimulus bill and expect to finalise a deal on Tuesday. The president appeared to declare victory over the virus as he looks to restart the US economy by Easter, despite no evidence that Americans can safely return to work without spreading the virus within three weeks. During his White House briefing on Tuesday, the president said: “What timeline this would be.”

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Decision to resume US economy ‘based on certain level of weeks’ not science

Pressed on whether anyone in his administration has supported the president’s Easter timeline to resume business as usual, Donald Trump said he thought it was a “beautiful time” and “based on a certain level of weeks” — not recommendations from health officials.



White House urging New Yorkers to self-isolate

Dr Anthony Fauci says the rates of coronavirus infection in New York are “disturbing” as officials say evidence suggests people who have left the city are spreading to other parts of the US.

Dr Deborah Birx says the administration is “deeply concerned” about the rates of infections in New York and urged people to self-isolate for two weeks, including people who have visited the state.


Donald Trump, in sharp defiance of his public health team, declared victory on Tuesday over the coronavirus even as the number of confirmed US cases and deaths continue to rise.


Fauci returns

Notably, Dr Anthony Fauci has returned to the president’s side after being absent during White House briefings and reports of his growing frustration with correcting the president’s anti-science claims.

The Independent‘s Chris Riotta reported earlier that the president’s top health adviser said that “the idea of pitting one against the other is just not helpful” amid the nationwide Covid-19 outbreak.


Trump pushes to re-open US by Easter

Donald Trump says the US is “near the end of our historic battle with our invisible enemy” as he continues to push for the optics-friendly return to normal “by Easter, a special day for many reasons.”

“What a great timeline this would be,” he said at his White House briefing on Tuesday.


Jerry Falwell Jr says he’s “protecting” students by keeping them on campus after claiming the US i “overreacting” to the virus.


Stocks rally as coronavirus stimulus bill nears approval 

US stock markets rebounded on Tuesday amid rumours that an economic stimulus package to deal with the impact of the coronavirus was nearing approval. 

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday morning that there was “real optimism” that a deal could be reached soon. 

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.4 percent in response to the news, rebounding from a three year low. 


Trump calls price transparency ‘so important’ as Senate negotiates coronavirus bill

The president signalled his support for the inclusion of price transparency in the coronavirus relief package, writing in a tweet: “Hopefully it will be approved!”


Trump’s speech notes scratch off the term ‘Chinese virus’

The president appeared to forego calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” during a statement from the White House last night, instead calling on Americans to reject hate and violence against Asians amid a spike in reported hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic:


Trump banks second term on a low coronavirus death toll

The Independent’s John Bennet has more: Donald Trump appeared restless, agitated and fed up. He gestured wildly, his arms repeatedly stretched to the side or aggressively in front of him as he stood behind the lectern Monday night in the sparsely populated White House briefing room. He was tired of precautions. It was time to follow the same instincts that put him there.

Gone was last week’s measured and stoic president, replaced with the combative commander in chief persona that has defined his nearly five years as a professional politician. Gone was the CEO-in-chief who for five days delegated answers to technical questions to his public health experts, replaced by the chief executive with all the answers – based on his own hunches – that put his own re-election needs over cold, hard science.

“This is going away,” the president declared boldly just hours after his hand-picked surgeon general told the country “this week, it’s going to get bad.”


House Speaker signals confidence in bipartisan relief bill

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Tuesday she was confident a deal between Republicans and Democrats on the coronavirus pandemic would soon be reached, but that a vote would likely have to take place on Wednesday. 


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Louisiana set to become ‘the next Italy’ 

The Independent’s Alex Woodward has more: Within the first two weeks of March, Louisiana had “the fastest growth rate” of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, as the governor warns that the state could become “the next Italy” unless dramatic containment efforts are supported by immediate federal aid. 

The state has confirmed more than 1,300 confirmed Covid-19 cases and at least 46 deaths, as of Tuesday, with roughly half of all cases coming from New Orleans and neighbouring Jefferson Parish.

With a population of fewer than 400,000 people, the rate of infection in New Orleans rivals counties across New York state despite having a fraction of the population. New Orleans also has more than double the number of total cases than all of Los Angeles county, which is more than 20 times larger.


Trump hits out at New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo

The president appeared to attack New York’s governor during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s more:


Racism inspired by terms like Trump’s ‘Chinese virus’ causes spike in hate crimes, activists say

The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe has more: Hundreds of Asian Americans have been violently attacked in the last month because of ‘China virus’ racism voiced by Donald Trump and others, activists have claimed.

Amid criticisms that repeated use of the phrase “China virus” by Mr Trump and some of his top officials was racist, activists said they had seen violent attacks on Asian Americans increase in “leaps and bound” over the last three weeks.

This was in addition to verbal abuse, slurs and other racist rhetoric, members of the community suffered.


Dr Anthony Fauci isn’t at Trump’s town hall – but POTUS says they’re ‘fine’

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci, who serves as a public-facing member of Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, has defended his relationship with the president in a new interview about the White House administration’s response to the pandemic.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases cleared the air on Tuesday after reports on palace intrigue and alleged friction between him and Mr Trump received national media attention throughout the week. 

“When I’ve made suggestions he’s taken them. He’s never countered or overridden me — the idea of pitting one against the other is just not helpful,” the doctor said in an interview with WMAL’s Morning on the Mall. “I wish that would stop and we’d look ahead at the challenge we have to pull together to get over this thing.”


Trump says he wants quarantine over by Easter

The Independent’s John Bennet has more: Donald Trump doubled down on his pledge to end a national shutdown over the coronavirus, arguing on Tuesday that a prolonged economic lapse could “destroy” the United States as he vowed to open the country by Easter.

“We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu, we don’t turn the country off,” Mr Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall from the White House. “We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We have to get back to work. … The faster we go back, the better.”

A White House-established 15-day shutdown period ends on Monday, and Mr Tru

“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said of 12 April.


Trump says he has a ‘very good’ relationship with Dr Anthony Fauci

“These are great people … Tony’s extraordinary, I get along with all of them,” the president said about his top health experts. “We’re fine.” 


Trump says ‘I would love to have the country opened up’ by Easter

The president told Fox News he wants to have the country back opened by 12 April.


Trump says recession would cost more lives than coronavirus through suicides

“They came in and they said ‘sir, we’re going to have to close the country,’” he said. “I said are, ‘You serious about this? We are going to take this country that’s fully employed … and you’re telling me that we’re going to have to close it?’”

“You’re going to lose more people by putting the country into a massive recession”, he added, noting how the economic downturn would allegedly cause an upswing in “suicides” and other things. 


Trump says ‘you can destroy a country this way’ as health experts warn to self-isolate

The president said on Tuesday: “We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu, we don’t turn the country off.”

“We lose thousands of people a year to the flu,” he added. “We have to get back to work.”

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