Daily US Times: President Donald Trump has posted tweets encouraging people to protest against strict lockdown measures in several US states and he defended his stand.
He said at his daily White House briefing on Friday that some measures imposed by Michigan Minnesota and Virginia had been “too tough”.
Earlier, he wrote in a series of tweets: “LIBERATE MINNESOTA”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and then “LIBERATE VIRGINIA”.
Health officials say the curbs, including the stay-at-home orders, are needed to halt the spread of coronavirus.
But protesters say they are hurting citizens, by stifling economic activity and limiting movement unreasonably.
On Thursday, the US saw its highest daily total, recording 4,591 deaths in 24 hours.
That spike could be because Johns Hopkins University began to include deaths with a Covid-19 probable cause. The US university is tracking the virus impact on daily basis worldwide.
According to Johns Hopkins, the US has the highest number of cases and deaths worldwide, more than 36,000 deaths and nearly 700,000 confirmed infections.
The states Mr Trump referred to in Friday’s tweets are all led by Democrats, while Ohio and Utah, which he did not mention, have Republican governors.
Demonstrations calling on authorities to end the shutdown have occurred in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia.
More demonstrations are planned, including in Oregon, Wisconsin, Idaho, Maryland, and Texas.
The protests have varied in size, ranging from thousands in Michigan to a few dozen people in Virginia.
The president’s apparent support comes a day after his administration unveiled new three-phase guidance for re-opening state economies.
His stance of Friday contradicts his stance on Thursday, where he said he was sympathetic to the demonstrators, but “they seem to be protesters who like me… my opinion is just about the same as all of the governors”.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz responded to the tweets, saying he called the White House to ask “what they think we could have done differently”, but did not hear back. He said White House’s plan is exactly what they are trying to do.
What does federal guidance say?
Trump administration unveiled an 18-page reopen plan document, detailing three phases to reopen state economies, with each phase lasting, at minimum, 14 days.
Recommendations included in all three phases including good personal hygiene and employers developing policies to ensure social distancing, testing, and contact tracing.
Phase one includes much of the current lockdown measures such as not gathering in groups and avoiding non-essential travel. But it says large venues such as sports venues, places of worship and restaurants “can operate under strict physical distancing protocols”.
Phase two allows non-essential travel to resume only if there is no evidence of a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Under phase three, states which are still seeing a downward trend of symptoms and cases can allow “public interactions” with physical distancing and the unrestricted staffing of worksites.
You can see the full plan here.