Most US states have begun at least tentatively reopening for business, but that inevitably will mean more travel and higher risks.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations, whose virus projections have been closely watched, this week raised its US death forecast -- to 137,000 deaths by August 4 -- based largely on "explosive increases in mobility in a number of states," said director Christopher Murray.
That number, far above the current total of more than 79,000 deaths, reflects both looser restrictions and "quarantine fatigue," he said on CBS, and it came despite positive trends in the hard-hit states of New York, New Jersey and Michigan.
In states that have loosened their restrictions recently, Murray predicted "a jump in cases" in about 10 days time.
But both Kudlow and Mnuchin stressed that undue delay in reopening would also carry a cost.
"I think there's a considerable risk of NOT reopening," the Treasury secretary said on Fox. "You're talking about what would be permanent economic damage to the American public."
Kudlow, pushing back on reports of growing partisan tensions in Washington over another tranche of emergency relief, said informal talks with Democrats were under way, but he and Mnuchin emphasized the need to move ahead with deliberation.
"We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers' money, that we do it carefully," Mnuchin said.
Still, both Mnuchin and Kudlow again expressed optimism that the US economy would register a sharp recovery in the second half of the year, with Kudlow predicting "a tremendous snapback" in 2021.
Trump reiterated this week his belief that the virus would simply "go away," even without a vaccine.
Asked about that on Sunday, Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health and Security at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, dissented.
"No, this virus isn't going to go away," he said on Fox, adding that it would remain as a "background problem" both in the US and around the world until a vaccine is developed. (AFP)