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Trump says ‘we’re not gonna close the country’ again if a second wave of coronavirus hits

President Trump on Thursday toured a Ford plant in Michigan that has been converted to making personal protection and medical equipment.
President Trump on Thursday toured a Ford plant in Michigan that has been converted to making personal protection and medical equipment.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

President Trump said on Thursday that “we’re not gonna close the country” again if the coronavirus sees a resurgence.

During a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan, a reporter asked the president if he was concerned about a potential second wave of the illness.

“People say that’s a very distinct possibility. It’s standard. And we’re going to put out the fires. We’re not gonna close the country. We’re going to put out the fires — whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out. But we’re not closing our country.”

Trump’s administration in March issued cautionary guidelines — which were originally supposed to last 15 days and were then extended an additional 30 — aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, such as encouraging Americans to work and study from home and to avoid restaurants and discretionary travel. The federal guidelines also recommended against group gatherings larger than 10 and urged older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home.

The guidelines expired in late April, leaving any further restrictions or advisories up to individual states.

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Several states have forged ahead with reopenings, including in Massachusetts, where Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a cautious, four-phase road map to recovery, with each phase lasting at least three weeks.

However, in Massachusetts, public health experts are concerned that more public interaction could lead to a second wave of infections, even as businesses take precautions like screening workers for COVID-19 symptoms.

“This is likely to give a false sense of security and will be frustrating when the inevitable spread happens from someone who wasn’t visibly sick,” Samuel Scarpino, an epidemiologist at Northeastern University, previously told the Globe.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss