Donald Trump claims US has 'passed the peak' of coronavirus and wants to reopen country
16 April 2020, 10:37 | Updated: 16 April 2020, 10:55
President Donald Trump has claimed the US has "passed the peak" of the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to announce measures to begin relaxing lockdown rules.
His comments on Wednesday evening came after the US became the epicentre of the global pandemic, with more than 640,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths.
He now wants to open parts of the country, despite business leaders telling him they need more coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment before people can safely go back to work.
Speaking at the daily White House press conference he said: "While we must remain vigilant it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working, very strongly working I might add.
"New cases are declining throughout the New York metropolitan area. Cases in the Detroit and Denver metro areas are flat. Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia are showing great signs of progress and new cases in Houston and New Orleans are declining.
"The battle continues but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. Hopefully, that will continue and we will continue making great progress."
The new guidelines are aimed at clearing the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with low transmission of Covid-19.
In what was described as a "TV meltdown" on Monday, Trump claimed he had "total authority" to force states to reopen and begin operating as normal.
But the President's statement was incorrect, and the decision to reopen will ultimately lie with each individual state governor.
Some states on the east and west coasts have begun to form pacts to work together on when to relax lockdown orders.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he said his state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have all decided to work together and will each name a public health and economic official to oversee the process.
The governors of California, Washington and Oregon on west coast have also announced a similar pact, and have invited other states to join.