- "We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country," said the president.
- Trump's remarks contrast with those of CDC director Robert Redfield, who would not rule out the prospects of new lockdown measures in response to a second wave.
- The US has been among the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, with 1.5 million Americans infected by the virus and more than 90,000 killed.
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President Donald Trump told reporters that he has no plans to close down the US if a second wave of the coronavirus sweeps the country.
"People say that's a very distinct possibility, it's standard," Trump said during a tour of the Ford factory in Michigan, on Thursday, when asked by a reporter about the possibility of a resurgence of the virus.
"We are going to put out the fires. We're not going to close the country," Trump said. "We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country."
Under the "Transition to Greatness" slogan, Trump has, for weeks, been pushing for state authorities to lift tough lockdown measures designed to slow the spread of the disease, with millions of Americans out of work and businesses across the country shuttered.
But top public health experts have warned that the pockets of the outbreak are likely to continue spreading throughout the summer, and in winter, during flu season, a second wave of the disease could begin.
Authorities in each US state have begun lifting lockdown measures, but there is apprehension that if the infection rates start to spike again and health services are overwhelmed, they may be hastily reintroduced particularly if hospitals are also having to deal with seasonal flu cases later in the year.
Trump's comments contrast with those of Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday, he would not rule out the prospect of new lockdown measures returning in response to a second wave in winter.
"I can't guarantee; that's kind of getting into the opinion mode, we have to be data-driven. What I can say is that we are committed to using the time that we have now to get this nation as over-prepared as possible," Redfield told the publication.
And in an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease, also warned of the likelihood of a second wave.
"The virus is not going to disappear," he told Post. "It's a highly transmissible virus. At any given time, it's someplace or another. As long as that's the case, there's a risk of resurgence."
In testimony to a Senate committee investigating the federal government response to the virus last week, he said that enhanced capabilities to test people infected with the illness and trace those they may have infected could help to mitigate its impact.
"I hope that if we do have the threat of a second wave we will be able to deal with it very effectively to prevent it from becoming an outbreak not only worse than now but much, much less," Fauci said last Tuesday, in testimony delivered by video link.
The US has been among the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, with 1.5 million Americans infected by the virus and more than 90,000 killed, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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