Trump to ease lockdown, saying virus cases have 'passed peak'

File: US President Donald Trump.

File: US President Donald Trump.

AFP/Alex Wong

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump vowed to unveil plans on Thursday to reopen the world's top economy, following cautious moves in Europe.

Trump claimed the US had "passed the peak" of new coronavirus cases, even as the country logged a record number of deaths from the disease.

Since emerging in China late last year, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down, forcing half of humanity indoors and catapulting the global economy towards a second Great Depression.

READ: US hits record 2,228 deaths in past 24 hours: Johns Hopkins tally

The death toll has topped 134,000 with more than two million infected, according to an AFP tally -- with nearly 2,600 dying in the past 24 hours in the US alone.

But a bullish Trump told reporters his "aggressive strategy" against the virus was working and that "the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases".

He promised swift "guidelines" on reopening parts of the country, suggesting less-affected states could ease restrictions before May 1.

READ: Trump halts WHO funding, with world on edge over virus lockdowns

"We'll be the comeback kids, all of us," said Trump.

Leaders around the world are wrestling with the dilemma of how to return to normal and kick-start their shattered economies without risking a devastating second wave of infections.


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