President Donald Trump dismisses all expert advice and vows to reopen America

The President delivered a bizarre and erratic performance from the White House podium on Monday night.

Well, more than erratic. Alarming.

Americans are bracing for the coronavirus hurricane to strike with full intensity in the coming few weeks.

Already the death toll is over 500.

And it’s expected to increase rapidly over the next few days, with New York the national hotspot.

So what is President Trump’s response?

In rambling comments that defy the global consensus he is suggesting that he might soon lift some of the restrictions being imposed on citizens and businesses.

Yes, you read that correctly. Lift the restrictions.

Empty streets in Chicago - but President Trump seems keen to reopen the country sooner rather than later. Credit: AP

According to epidemiologists the peak of infections in America is several weeks away, but Trump airily dismissed that.

Experts, he said, with ill-disguised disdain, would like to shut down the entire world for several years.

“America will again - and soon - be open for business,” he insisted. “Very soon.

"We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

He added: “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down.”

Now that as a statement is defensible if he is surrounded by experts who are recommending such relaxation of the mitigation measures.

The economy clearly does matter.

Incomes and livelihoods are under immense strain.

But all of the experts - some of them like the Surgeon-General sharing the podium in recent days and looking deeply uncomfortable - are saying the exact opposite.

They are arguing that social distancing and a lockdown are essential to saving tens of thousands of lives.

State Governors have also made their position clear: Currently 100 million Americans are under orders to stay at home.

Perhaps the President will change his mind and not make decisions based on economic or stock market considerations.

His own businesses are facing a disaster too, with his Trump-branded hotels and golf courses forced to close.

All of the stock market gains of his presidency have now been wiped out.

You have to conclude this country is in deep peril.

US hospitals are about to be overwhelmed.

There are insufficient ventilators.

There is little testing being carried out.

Congress is still haggling over a financial rescue package.

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is issuing ever more desperate pleas for equipment for healthcare workers.

And amid all of this the President is advocating lifting the only measures that are known to stem the pandemic.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know