Hours before he is scheduled to participate in a conference call with other governors and President Donald Trump, Gov. Charlie Baker expressed wariness about rushing to loosen social distancing restrictions before Massachusetts gets through the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

When and to what degree to revive economic activity has emerged as a point of tension between Trump, who has pushed for reopening to begin in early May, and some state leaders, who argue that the public health risks outweigh the benefits of lifting non-essential business closures.

Baker told reporters Thursday that governors are "interested in hearing" a proposal the Trump administration may unveil, but his remarks earlier in his daily press briefing stressed the importance of maintaining shutdowns with Massachusetts now in the surge and COVID-19 infections and deaths rising higher.

"We've talked now for a couple of weeks about the fact that somewhere around the middle of April, we were going to enter the worst part of the pandemic. That part of the pandemic is here," Baker said. "I know it's difficult for everybody to hear this, particularly given how significantly their lives have been upended over the course of the past five weeks, but this virus obviously doesn't work on a schedule."

The administration's data indicates that most Massachusetts residents have abided stay-at-home and social-distancing recommendations, and Baker said the virus's threat "can be killed when we all do our jobs to slow the spread."

"I know it's been a long time, but letting up now would only result in greater harm," he said.