WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump acknowledges fear on both sides of the coronavirus crisis, with some Americans worried about getting sick while others are concerned about losing jobs. But Trump says the nation is ready to begin reopening the economy.
"We have to get it back open safely but as quickly as possible," Trump said during a "virtual" town hall event hosted by Fox News on Sunday evening.
Throughout the event, which was held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Trump fielded Americans' questions about their coronavirus concerns.
He stuck to his relentlessly optimistic view of the nation's ability to rebound soon, saying, "It is all working out."
Many health experts, including some in his own administration, believe that economic recovery won't be possible until a vaccine for the virus has been developed. Many experts optimistically believe it could be between 18 and 24 months before a vaccine is widely available, but Trump said Sunday that he's confident one will be developed by the end of the year.
According to The Associated Press, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in late April that it is conceivable, if a vaccine is soon developed, that it could be in wide distribution as early as January.
Trump also said Sunday that he expects U.S. deaths linked to the coronavirus to total between 80,000 and 90,000. That's up about 20,000 from a few weeks ago when Trump said he expected about 60,000 deaths linked to the disease.
The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — a model routinely used by the White House — currently projects that about 72,000 Americans will die of the coronavirus by August. Other models offer more volatility in their projections.
As of Monday morning, 1.1 million Americans were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus, and more than 67,000 had died.