President Donald Trump indicated during Tuesday’s coronavirus task force press briefing that some states could rescind their stay-at-home orders and reopen for business “almost immediately” despite warnings from the CDC that opening before May 1 could be detrimental to the public health.
Trump told reporters that he was aware of 29 states that were in “very very good shape” and could potentially reopen quickly. While the president said he would leave the final decision of when to reopen states up to governors, Trump stated that some states would be able to reopen “maybe even before the date May 1st.”
“We have one country but lots of different pieces,” Trump said. “We have beautiful states with beautiful governors. They know it is time to open.”
“I’m not putting any pressure on,” Trump added. “Some of them are ready to go and that’s a good thing. So we will open it up in beautiful pieces as it comes along.”
However, infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Associated Press on Tuesday that a deadline of May 1 for reopening the U.S. was “a bit overly optimistic.”
“We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” Fauci said, citing a lack of contact tracing and coronavirus testing procedures.
Tuesday, The Washington Post published a plan, allegedly written by officials from FEMA and the CDC, that outlines a plan to reopen the country in stages. Bringing areas with low mitigation rates back into business is not recommended by the plan until May 1.
“Some communities implemented significant mitigation measures well before community transmission was occurring and may be overly restricted,” the plan read. “These communities could lift mitigation measures significantly and remain prepared to monitor local conditions closely and increase mitigation measures when needed.”
According to the plan, areas that engaged in moderate mitigation are not likely to be ready until June, although “brief periods of significant mitigation may be useful and if well planned and coordinate across sectors could mitigate the jarring impact” of the extended closure of schools and non-essential businesses.
“Models indicate 30-day shelter in place followed by 180-day lifting of all mitigation results in large rebound curve—some level of mitigation will be needed until vaccines or broad community immunity is achieved for recovering communities,” the plan states.
However, the plan calls for the constant monitoring of all communities until the coronavirus spread ends or a vaccine becomes available.
Newsweek reached out to CDC for comment. The White House declined to comment for this story.
“As members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, CDC and FEMA are part of the data-driven effort to move our country forward,” a FEMA spokesperson told Newsweek Tuesday. “We will not comment on a leaked, draft document.”
Although Trump recognized state autonomy concerning the decisions on when states would reopen their businesses, he said the federal government would have a hand in those final determinations.
“You know, there are some [states] that want to open up almost now,” Trump said. “Now, if we disagree with it, we’re not going to let them open. We’re not going to let them open. If some governor said, you know—has a lot of problems, a lot of cases, a lot of death—and they want to open early, we’re not going to let it happen.”
“So we’re there to watch,” Trump added. “We’re there to help. But we’re also there to be critics.”
Updated 9:53 p.m. EST 04/14/2020: This story has been updated to include a statement from FEMA.