Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan warned on Tuesday that the messaging coming from Donald Trump and his administration about the coronavirus pandemic is "pretty confusing," while also countering the president's suggestion that life would soon go back to normal.
Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses in his state to close on Monday, while urging residents to avoid leaving their homes and to practice social distancing to curb the spread of the novel virus. In an interview with CNN on Tuesday morning, the governor said there was a disconnect between what the president was saying and what many local governments have told residents.
"They don't really match, quite frankly. Some of the messaging is pretty confusing and it's not just that it doesn't match with what we're doing here in Maryland, some of the messaging coming out of the [Trump] administration doesn't match," Hogan said.
The Maryland governor explained that Trump's recent remarks that businesses would be open again soon was at odds with what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, have said.
"We're just trying to take the best advice we can from the scientists and all the experts, and making the decisions that we believe are necessary for our state," Hogan said. "We don't think that we're going to be in any way ready to be out of this in five or six days or so, or whenever this 15 days is up from the time they started this imaginary clock," he noted.
"Most people think that we are weeks away from the peak, if not months," Hogan added. "And that's the advice we're getting from the smart folks at John Hopkins and NIH [National Institutes of Health] and University of Maryland and places like that."
Health experts, including those within Trump's administration, have repeatedly warned that stringent social distancing policies are necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus. They have said that these policies will need to be maintained for a lengthy period of time to prevent potentially hundreds of thousands of deaths, and to avoid overwhelming hospitals across the country.
But in the last couple of days Trump has tried to argue that the country can begin reopening businesses soon, despite the rapidly growing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus nationwide.
"America will again and soon be open for business — very soon," Trump said during his Monday news conference. "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself."
On Tuesday morning, Trump again argued that people should return to work soon.
"Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together," he tweeted. "THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!"
The U.S. now has the third highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world, with more than 46,000 reported. The World Health Organization has also warned that the U.S. may soon become the new epicenter of global pandemic, with confirmed cases rising rapidly in the country every day.