June 18, 2020 / 2:37 AM / 15 days ago

Trump says U.S. will not lock down again amid rising coronavirus cases

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about a Trump administration plan aimed at helping to prevent suicides by U.S. veterans and other Americans, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again as several states reported rising numbers of new coronavirus infections.

“We won’t be closing the country again. We won’t have to do that,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel.

Trump’s comments come after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said the United States could not shut down the economy again.

In a call with governors, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged them to repeat the administration’s claim that increased testing accounts for the spike in numbers, the New York Times has reported.

The paper’s analysis found that positive cases outstripped the average number of administered tests in at least 14 states.

Restaurants, gyms, schools and other locations closed down in March as the country braced for the coronavirus, which has so far sickened 2.16 million Americans and killed nearly 118,000.

Millions of Americans found themselves unemployed as a result of the pandemic. Trump had previously touted the strength of the economy, making it central to his re-election bid in November.

Reporting by Makini Brice and Eric Beech; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Michael Perry

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