President Trump announced Sunday that he is extending social distancing guidelines for another 30 days until April 30.
“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,” Trump said at the Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House Sunday afternoon. “The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks, so I will say it again, the peak, highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks. Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.”
“We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread. During this period, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines. Have to follow the guidelines. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people,” Trump added.
The 15-day federal guidelines branded “15 Days to Slow the Spread” was released two weeks ago and were set to expire this Monday. It advises all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urges older people to stay at home. Trump said his administration are extending the guidelines with the hopes of avoiding a catastrophic death toll.
“So if we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000, it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job,” Trump said.
The announcement came just days after the president said he hoped that Easter would be a celebration of the virus’ defeat. Trump said the Easter target date was “just an aspiration” and his administration felt Easter “was too soon” and “we can’t take a chance.”
He added that he expects “great things to be happening” by June 1 and that date would mark “the bottom of the hill.”
“We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery,” Trump said. “We think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the choice to extend the guidelines had not been made lightly and “we’ve reviewed 12 different models” in deciding whether to continue the social distancing guidelines.
Birx emphasized that officials brought “that data and that evidence to the President to consider for extending, which is not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days.”
“We know it’s a huge sacrifice for everyone,” Birx said. “They have to know that we’ve really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save really hundreds of thousands of American lives.”
In addition to extending the social distancing guidelines to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump administration has also been working to extend testing to 50,000 tests daily, as well as deliver coronavirus results in as soon as five minutes and securing personal protective equipment for health care workers on the front lines, to be delivered to the states.
“We’ve been doing more testing than any other country in the world,” Trump said, adding that the number of tests administered is the reason the U.S. has more confirmed coronavirus cases. “Deployment of rapid testing will vastly accelerate our ability to monitor, track and contain the viruses. We will defeat this virus.”
As of Sunday afternoon, there are 139,675 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 2,436 deaths. New York has has rapidly become the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, paralyzing a city famous for never standing or sleeping. According to the data from the New York State Department of Health, New York has 59,000 confirmed cases with the state having 965 death, an increase of almost 33% from the 728 reported deaths on Saturday.