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Top Trump economist Larry Kudlow says economy could be shut down for up to two more months
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, speaks as President Donald Trump looks on during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the White House on March 24 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Top Trump economist Larry Kudlow says economy could be shut down for up to two more months

Can we make it that long?

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said Tuesday that it could be up to two more months before COVID-19 economic shutdowns end and businesses can resume normal operations, Politico reported.

What did he say? From Politico:

Kudlow, a self-described optimist, said he hoped the economy will be able to reopen "in the next four to eight weeks."

Let's rewind: California was the first state to issue a blanket shelter-in-place order on March 19, which closed all businesses deemed nonessential, prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people, and urged people to not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

At the time, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said "I don't expect this will be many months," but said it could last eight weeks or more, KQED reported.

Eight weeks from that date would take California into the middle of May, but if Kudlow's hope is accurate, it could be at least June before the economy can reopen nationwide.

When is it safe? Determining a date to resume normal activity is complicated. Every state has a different coronavirus status and trajectory. As New York and California recover, other states may begin seeing increases in the number of cases and deaths, especially if people are allowed to freely travel between states.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has significant influence over President Trump's response to the pandemic, has said social distancing measures can relax when there are no new cases and no new deaths. Without a vaccine or an approved treatment for COVID-19, there's no indication that the U.S. will be 100% free of the coronavirus anytime soon.

How's that working out? In the weeks since President Donald Trump endorsed the state orders and recommended (not ordered) shelter-in-place measures for the entire nation, about 10 million people have lost their jobs. Many of those lost jobs are due to furloughs, but it's not clear how temporary they'll be if businesses are forced to remain closed for another two months.

During the week ending March 21, 3.3 million people filed unemployment claims. The next week, another 6.6 million people filed. Economists project that this week's report could show another 6.6 million claims.

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