President Donald Trump compared COVID-19 to the seasonal flu and automobile accidents to justify his decision to order companies back to work next week.

The president has said he wants Americans to return to work after a two-week shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak, although medical experts agree more widespread social distancing is needed to halt the spread of the deadly pandemic.

"Look, we lose thousands -- I brought some numbers here," Trump told Fox News in a town hall interview outside the White House. "We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu, we don't turn the country off -- every year. When I heard the number -- you know, we averaged 37,000 people a year. Can you believe that? This year we are having a bad flu season, but we lose thousands of people a year to the flu -- we never turn the country off."

"We lose much more than that to automobile accidents," he continued. "We didn't call up the automobile companies and say, 'Stop making cars, we don't want cars anymore.' We have to get back to work."