Coronavirus live updates: U.S. surpasses Italy for most confirmed deaths with more than 20,000; Trump vows to ‘bring our country back’

President Trump on Saturday said his decision on whether to restart the U.S. economy will be based on a combination of “instinct” and input from his advisers, even as health experts and economists warn that reopening the country prematurely could lead to a coronavirus resurgence.

“There are a lot of things that go into a decision like that,” Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in an interview Saturday night. “It’s going to be based on a lot of facts and a lot of instinct also. Whether we like it or not there is a certain instinct to it.”

“But we have to get our country back,” he added. “People want to get back, they want to get back to work, we have to bring our country back.”

Trump has been pushing for the United States to resume business activity by May 1, or even as early as the end of April, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, as The Washington Post has reported. Some of his cabinet secretaries, along with a chorus of conservative economists and Republican lawmakers, are backing him up.

But public health officials and some business leaders have cautioned that easing social distancing restrictions and other precautions could have devastating consequences for efforts to contain the virus, which has killed more than 20,000 people in the United States, the highest of any other country.

Trump struck an optimistic tone, saying “we did it the right way.” He noted that noted that hundreds of thousands of people or more could have died if the United States had “bowled through” the pandemic without those measures, saying that “would have been unacceptable.”

“I think it’s going to be the toughest decision that I’ve ever made, hopefully that I ever will have to make,” Trump told Pirro Saturday. “I hope that I’m going to make the right decision. I’ll be basing it on a lot of very smart people, a lot of professionals, doctors, and business leaders.”

“We’ll be making that decision fairly soon,” he said.

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