WATCH: Mnuchin, Kudlow Say U.S. Economy Will Recover

(Associated Press) U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is confident the U.S. economy will recover strongly by fall even with the coronavirus outbreak.

Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump won’t lift national guidelines urging people to stay home and nonessential businesses to shutter until he has confidence that COVID-19 is controlled. The virus has so far killed more than 2,000 Americans.

The government last week reported 3.3 million new weekly unemployment claims, four times the previous record. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a TV interview the economy “may well be in a recession.”

Mnuchin on Sunday declined to say how bad the economy may be hit, but predicted a strong rebound in the third quarter.

He says: “We are going to kill this virus. We are going to reopen this economy. And in the third quarter of this year, you’re going to see this economy bounce back with very large GDP numbers and low unemployment, back to where we were beforehand.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says a decision whether to reopen the nation back for business as early as Easter will be a health decision not an economic one.

Mnunchin acknowledges surging unemployment numbers and declining GDP as 1 in 3 Americans remain under government orders to stay at home to slow the coronavirus that has killed over 2,000 Americans.

But he says President Donald Trump’s top objective is the health of the American public.

Mnuchin tells “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” that his own top focus is getting stimulus money from the just-passed $2.2 trillion aid package from Congress immediately into the hands of workers and businesses.

He said American workers will get direct deposits of money in three weeks, while a federal program aimed at helping half the workforce by encouraging small business to take out loans to hire back their workers for eight weeks will be up and running by Friday.

He said the stimulus package should help keep the economy and workers afloat for 10 weeks, and if more time is needed to stem the coronavirus, the administration will assess what else is needed at that time.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says he’s hopeful the $2.2 trillion stimulus package will be enough to see the country through the coronavirus pandemic.

Kudlow said on ABC’s “This Week” he doesn’t know how many weeks the crisis will last and notes it could be four weeks, or even eight. “That’s what some of the science experts are telling us. I don’t know if they’ll be right.”

Kudlow said the direct checks of $1,200 to most Americans will probably come out in two weeks, while the loans to small businesses will be ready for processing Friday.