Sat. Aug 8th, 2020

Pence vows to ‘keep opening up America’ as U.S. sets new record for coronavirus cases

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 26, 2020.

Erin Scott | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday vowed that the Trump administration would “keep opening up America” despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Pence told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the White House will stay with state leaders “every step of the way as they continue to take steps to mitigate the expansion of the coronavirus.”

The vice president’s remarks came after President Donald Trump celebrated a record-breaking rise in nonfarm payrolls in June. The U.S. aded 4.8 million jobs last month, according to the Labor Department.

But despite Trump’s optimism on the economy, a recent spike in coronavirus cases has other administration officials, such as health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, warning that the outbreak will be “very disturbing” if it is not reined in quickly.

The U.S. on Wednesday reported more than 50,000 Covid-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, marking the highest single-day total yet as the virus sweeps through Sun Belt states.

Pence said the White House wants to “make sure these states have everything they need” to fight the outbreak.

“But we’re going to keep up America again and have more days just like today,” Pence said.

All 50 states have begun relaxing their strict social distancing measures, which aimed to slow the spread of the virus but ground their economies to a virtual halt. But amid the surge in infections, many state leaders in recent weeks have re-imposed restrictions and delayed other businesses and activities from resuming.

“I think some places might have been overexuberant,” Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters Thursday after the president finished his remarks and left the White House briefing room without taking questions.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who also stuck around after Trump’s departure, said that the White House is “encouraging Americans to wear masks” despite the administration rejecting calls to impose a national mask mandate.

Trump said in an interview Wednesday doubted that a national mandate was necessary because “you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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