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Noah Smith

Trump Wants the Lockdown to End by Easter. Big Mistake.

Calling off the shutdown too early will cause infections to surge, requiring a new closure and more economic pain.

Literally or seriously?

Literally or seriously?

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many state and local governments have shut down restaurants and other businesses, and some have issued orders for people to stay home. These measures will eventually suppress the virus but come at a huge cost to the economy. Forecasters expect gross domestic product to fall by as much as 30% in the second quarter, a much steeper drop than ever happened during the Great Recession. Jobless claims will be in the millions.

President Donald Trump, seeing these economic costs, has declared that he wants the shutdowns ended by Easter (April 12). In a recent briefing, Trump declared that the U.S. “will be back in business pretty soon,” and that the country “wasn’t built to be shut down.”