David Solomon is the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the largest investment banks in the world, and he has a message for President Donald Trump, who is reportedly planning to reopen the United States and the U.S. economy as soon as May 1: You cannot force people to return to normal if they don’t feel safe.
Solomon is one of the business leaders the president has been consulting on his reopening plan, and according to The Washington Post he made it clear in a call with Trump that when dealing with a virus as contagious as COVID-19, you can’t just snap your fingers and make wishes come true:
“Unless people feel safe and secure and confident around the virus, the economic impact will continue in some way, shape, or form.”
Others Trump has been consulting about the economy have passed along a similar message, the Post notes:
“Many of the chief executives urged the White House to focus more on mass testing, according to several participants on the calls. Public health experts have argued that widespread testing is a key prerequisite to reopening the economy because it would determine who is infected and needs to be isolated, giving Americans greater confidence that they can safely return to work and public life.”
So far, only about one percent of the American public has been tested.
But despite those admonitions from members of the business community, Trump said Wednesday in the White House Rose Garden that testing would be up to the states, not the federal government:
“We have the best tests in the world,” Trump said. “And we will be working very much with the governors of the states. We want them to do it. . . . The states are much better equipped to do it.”
Others who were on a conference call with Trump suggested the administration’s planning is not exactly up to snuff:
“But participants in the calls — which took place in four rounds and included representatives from more than a dozen industries, including banking, sports, agriculture and health care — painted a picture of a chaotic approach by the White House.
“’Trump made it very clear he was ready to go on May 1,’ a person who was on one of the afternoon calls said. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private call, added that Trump seemed to bask in the praise from CEOs, who repeatedly opened their comments with compliments for the president.”
With thousands of Americans dying each and every day from coronavirus, Trump’s wish to return to normal may be about to meet with reality and result in nothing more than additional infections and even more death.
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