Republican Governor Says Trump's Message to Reopen Economy Soon 'Isn't Helpful,' Warns Pandemic Will Get Worse In Coming Weeks

Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan cautioned that the message coming from President Donald Trump and some other conservatives that the economy should be ready to reopen soon "isn't helpful," as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and grow rapidly nationwide.

Hogan, whose state has more than 1,200 confirmed cases, made the remark during an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. The GOP governor noted that scientists and public health experts expect the crisis to worsen in the coming weeks, not improve. He asserted that he does not expect his state to return to normal in the near future.

"In spite of the fact that we've taken some of the most aggressive steps in the country on social distancing [in Maryland], and we were out front of nearly every state on some of these things, we've been taking unprecedented action every day for the past three weeks--it's continuing to grow at really kind of frightening paces and we think it's gonna be worse in two weeks, not better," Hogan warned.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) joined FOX News Sunday to talk about the aggressive steps his administration is taking to contain the coronavirus. Sometimes Governor Hogan’s messaging is at odds with President Trump. #FNS

— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) March 29, 2020

Wallace then asked if Hogan was concerned about talk of reopening the economy and having people go back to work, which Trump repeatedly suggested should happen soon over the past week.

"The messaging isn't helpful," Hogan said. "Because as we're–the governors out there on the frontlines are trying to get people to stay in their homes, for everything but very essential things...and then we've got messaging coming out saying that things are OK, and you should get back to normal," he said. "It does conflict and it hurts with the message."

Hogan then gave Trump some credit, however, saying that he believed the president was "just trying to be hopeful." The governor pointed out that "we don't want people to be scared," but reiterated that his administration in Maryland would continue to take the advice of scientists and health experts.

Speaking at a press briefing last Monday, Trump said: "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself" -- referring to the economic damage from shutting down so many industries. He also suggested during a Fox News virtual town hall on Tuesday that the country could reopen by Easter, which is now about two weeks away.

Multiple studies have projected that hundreds of thousands to more than 2 million people could die in the U.S. if strict social distancing policies are not followed to prevent the rapid spread of the novel virus. Even if the measures remain in place, analysts believe that thousands of Americans will die of the disease, but many can be saved if the spread of the virus is curbed.

Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci
President Donald Trump arrives as Dr. Anthony Fauci, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, waits for the beginning of a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in the press briefing room of the White House on March 26 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty

"We're going to have millions of cases," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned in an interview with CNN on Sunday morning. The health expert, who is part of Trump's coronavirus task force, predicted some 100,000 to 200,000 deaths could occur as a result of pandemic in the U.S.

States and municipalities across the country have already shut down schools, restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and public gatherings. As a result, the economy has slowed dramatically and millions of Americans have been forced to apply for unemployment. Trump and other conservatives have raised concern about the economic damage if so much of the economy remains shut down.

As of this writing, there are more than 132,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., by far the highest number recorded in any country in the world. More than 2,300 people have already died in the country due to the virus, while over 2,600 have recovered.