White House Is Making Contingency Plans for Potential Second Wave of Coronavirus, Future Shutdowns

White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said the Trump administration is preparing contingency plans for a possible second wave of the new coronavirus, but that those plans won't include an economic shutdown.

Kudlow said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg TV that he has spoken several times with members of President Donald Trump's White House Coronavirus Task Force about contingency plans for another return of COVID-19, and what should happen if cases suddenly begin to surge.

The official said the government is better prepared and equipped than it was when the COVID-19 pandemic began to manifest in the U.S. in March.

"Right now, the virus numbers are flattening out, and that's a really good thing," Kudlow said. "That means we can reopen this economy."

News that the White House is formulating contingency plans comes as many states have begun to reopen their economies and loosen social distancing restrictions.

Texas became one of the first states reopen when Governor Greg Abbott announced on April 17 that retailers could offer curbside or home delivery of goods, and allowed restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters and museums to reopen on May 1, with limited capacity.

So far 29 states have begun to partially reopen, while 18 others, including New York, either still have stay-at-home orders in place or are reopening some low-risk businesses with restrictions.

Only three states—Nevada, Ohio, and New Hampshire—aren't reopening their economies yet, according to a New York Times report.

Many of the state governors who imposed stay-at-home orders at the end of March began announcing their plans to reopen a day after a teleconference in which Trump unveiled his three-phase plan to resume the U.S. economy.

"President Trump deserves some credit for putting together a massive infrastructure, whether its testing, or face masks, or gowns, or whatever, running the whole gamut," Kudlow said. "I don't want to dwell on the worst-case because I am an optimist."

Kudlow added that he had confidence in the local leadership of governors and mayors were cognizant of whether they could safely reopen their economies.

He predicted an economic surge for the third and fourth quarters of 2020, once the U.S. economy is running at its full capacity.

"When we do reopen, it's going to give this economy a tremendous boost," he said.

Kudlow said as long as the U.S. stays on course with the current policies, there isn't any reason why 2021 won't be a strong year economically for the country.

Larry Kudlow
Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow looks on during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on April 28, 2020. Kudlow said Friday in a Bloomberg TV interview that the White House is creating contingency plans for a second coronavirus wave, which will not include a government shutdown. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images