FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn was hesitant to say whether President’s Trump’s idea to reopen the economy next month is feasible during Sunday morning interviews.
When asked whether it would be a big risk to begin relaxing social distancing measures now, Hahn responded that there are “obviously” issues that are going into assessing when is the “right time to go back,” but that “the public safety and the welfare of the American people has to come first.”
“There are obviously other considerations,” Hahn said. “I have heard from friends and colleagues around the world that people really do want to get back to a more normal life than what we’ve had the last several weeks, but we have got to get the data as they come in. We have to look at what we know about this illness, what’s happened in other countries and put them into the situation, into the plan moving forward.”
Pressed on whether May 1 is a good target, Hahn acknowledged that the Trump administration is “hopeful about that target,” but that he thinks “it’s too early” to determine a date despite seeing “light at the end of the tunnel. ”
“We see the incredible resiliency of the American people with respect to social distancing, hand washing and all of those mitigation factors. So, that gives me great hope,” Hahn said. “But I think it’s just too early for us to say whether May 1 is that date — but more to come on that as we learn more information, and as our planning proceeds.”
In response to Trump suggesting during a White House coronavirus task force briefing on Thursday that widespread testing isn’t necessary as he itches to reopen the economy soon, Hahn said that the strategy moving forward for opening up the country means taking all of factors into account before arguing that ramping up testing is necessary before reopening the economy.
“Further ramping up testing, both diagnostic as well as the antibody tests, will really be necessary as we move beyond May and into the summer months and then into the fall,” Hahn said.
Watch Hahn’s remarks on ABC below:
President Trump is considering May 1 as a new target for opening the country, sources tell ABC News.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 12, 2020
Hahn shared a similar sentiment on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, saying that the safety and the welfare of Americans has to come first.
After adding that it’s “all hands on deck to try to get more diagnostic tests in,” Hahn acknowledged that there have been “really good and vigorous debates” on reopening the economy.
Watch Hahn’s remarks on MSNBC below:
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn responds to whether Trump's wish to lift social distancing guidelines next month is realistic pic.twitter.com/w4tCPGdtmv
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) April 12, 2020