President Donald Trump issued a dire warning at Saturday's press briefing. Per Fox News, speaking with reporters gathered at the White House, the commander-in-chief warned the nation of "the toughest" week in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, stating that "there will be death."
"This will probably be the toughest week -- between this week and next week," Trump began.
"There will be a lot of death, unfortunately. But a lot less death than if this wasn't done. But there will be death.""We will move heaven and earth to safeguard our great American citizen. We will continue to use every power, every authority, every single resource we've got to keep our people healthy, safe, secure and to get this thing over with," the president continued.
Trump's remarks come as the virus ravages the country, with more than 300,000 Americans infected with it. During the press conference, Trump also said that he is deploying 1,000 medical personnel to New York, which has been hit harder by the pandemic than any other state.
Trump also suggested that he is growing impatient with the social distancing measures the government has had to impose, stating that "we have to get back to work." Arguing that a nationwide lockdown is not necessary, the president expressed hope that the economy will be reopened by the end of summer.
Trump, who was criticized for initially downplaying the severity of the crisis, planned on reopening the economy by Easter. The plans have changed, however, with the administration extending social distancing guidelines until the end of April.
The president's approval rating has also changed. According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday, approval of the way the commander-in-chief has responded to the pandemic has dropped eight points over the last two weeks. A majority of Americans, 52 percent, now disapprove of Trump's handling of the crisis.Furthermore, the survey suggests that the vast majority of Americans say the coronavirus has had a significant impact on their lives. Ninety-one percent of respondents say their "regular routine" has been disrupted, with 72 percent saying they are cancelling plans and activities because of the virus. Eighty-nine percent of Americans are concerned they will contract the virus, according to the poll.
Democratic politicians have been critical of Trump's response to the pandemic, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi describing the president's early downplaying of the crisis as "deadly."
Trump and his Republican allies pushed back against the comments, arguing that Pelosi and other Democrats were focused on impeachment and ignoring the outbreak, with former Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich calling Pelosi "despicable."