President Donald Trump is doubling down on his recommendation that all government employees return to work within 2 weeks.
15 states are under lockdown and half of the country is under self-quarantine to curb the spread of the virus that causes mild flu-like symptoms in most healthy people.
"We have to get back to work," Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday.
"I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," Trump added. "I gave it two weeks... We lose thousands of people a year to flu and we don't turn the country off."
Easter falls on Sunday, April 12 this year.
"We'll assess at that time and we'll give it some more time if we need a little more time, but we need to open this country up. We have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought."
Earlier, Trump tweeted:
"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. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!"
The White House is encouraging lawmakers to pass a $2 trillion economic stimulus package that will include checks ranging from $1,200 to $4,500 for individuals and small business owners who are impacted financially by the virus.
The Senate is set to vote on the bill on Tuesday afternoon after voting no on Monday.