Trump announces social distancing guidelines extended to April 30
President Donald Trump said Sunday the peak in the death rate from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to hit in two weeks and extended guidelines to slow the spread of the deadly illness for 30 days.
"The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end," Trump said during a briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. "Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread."
The president said his administration would be finalizing social distancing guidelines on Tuesday. He said he does not anticipate the restrictions will be relaxed by region.
"It's very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines," he said, adding that he believes the country will be "well on our way to recovery" by June 1.
Trump had previously suggested he wants to reopen the U.S. economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak, by April 12. On Sunday, he said that date was "aspirational."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the mitigation efforts currently underway are having an impact on combating the spread of coronavirus and lauded the decision to extend the social distancing guidelines.
"The decision to … extend this mitigation process until the end of April I think was a wise and prudent decision," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to follow social distancing measures, including by working from home and limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people. The clock on the White House's guidelines, which Americans were told to follow for 15 days, was set to expire Monday.
There are more than 135,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 2,400 people in the U.S. have died of the illness, including an infant in Illinois, considered to be the youngest fatality.
The U.S. now ranks above Italy and Spain for the highest number of coronavirus cases. The nation is also much bigger than both, with more than 327 million people versus 60.4 million and 46.6 million respectively.
However, it also has surpassed China in the number of coronavirus cases.