WASHINGTON: US president Donald Trump on Wednesday said that the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire Thursday, and his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, predicted that by July the country will be really rocking again. To underscore his confidence, Trump said he plans to resume out-of-state travel after spending more than a month mostly cooped up in the White House, starting with a trip to Arizona next week.
And he said he’s hoping to hold mass campaign rallies in the coming months with thousands of supporters, even though medical experts have said there is little hope of having a vaccine by then. Putting a positive face on the latest grim numbers, the U.S. death toll has now surpassed American lives lost in the Vietnam War. Trump delivered his daily upbeat update and Kushner described the administration’s much-criticized response to the pandemic as “a great success story.” Trump also talked up the good news the day provided: hopeful results for possible COVID-19 treatment. But the government announced dismal new economic numbers as the pandemic took hold and shut down much of the country. The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first quarter of the year, a precursor to far grimmer reports that are expected this summer from the severe recession triggered by the pandemic. —PTI