WASHINGTON – White House senior adviser Jared Kushner called the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak "a great success story” on Wednesday as cases topped 1 million and the death toll passed 60,000 in the United States.
Kushner, the president's son-in-law who has been serving on the White House coronavirus task force, doesn't often make public appearances.
During an interview on Fox News on Wednesday morning, Kushner said, "I think that we've achieved all the different milestones that are needed. So the government, federal government, rose to the challenge and this is a great success story. I think that's really what needs to be told."
He also claimed that by June "a lot of the country should be back to normal," and that by July, "the country's really rocking again"
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Dozens of states have decided to reopen businesses amid the pandemic, and although they've also established a number of conditions for restarting, public health experts question their ability to monitor and handle any increase in cases that will follow.
If the surge is strong enough, some may have to reimpose the social distancing restrictions that devastated their economies.
Kushner denounced "the eternal lockdown crowd" for making "jokes on late-night television" about the administration's efforts, saying that the "reality is that the data is on our side" regarding testing and reopening the country.
Researchers at Harvard University recently concluded the U.S. would need to conduct 500,000 to 700,000 coronavirus tests a day to begin reopening safely. Last week the country averaged 210,000 daily tests, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
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Kushner said the country was "on the other side of the medical aspect of this," despite cases mounting across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that deaths and cases will "likely to continue to rise" in coming weeks, especially if social distancing isn't strongly followed.
The Trump administration has been criticized for the shortages in personal protective gear, lack of widespread testing, and its slow response to the pandemic, with reports suggesting President Donald Trump was warned about the threat of the virus from the intelligence community as early as January.
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Trump called Kushner "brilliant" on Wednesday following his comments.
However, some on Twitter seemed to disagree.
Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz, Paul Davidson