President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the voluntary national shutdown and social distancing guidelines until April 30, as deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic rise. He suggested the death rate would likely peak in two weeks.
“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won,” Trump said at an evening press briefing. “Therefore we will be extending our guidelines to April 30.”
Trump previously said he would like to open the country by Easter, April 12, but as the initial 15-day period of social distancing expires Monday, he now says that goal was “aspirational.”
“We know much more now than we did two or three weeks ago. Easter should be the peak number, and it should start coming down,” he said at the White House.
“It was just an aspiration.”
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) March 29, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the extension “a wise and prudent decision.”
The federal guidelines advise Americans to work from home if possible, avoid large groups or groups of more than 10 people, and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home.
The U.S. had more than 137,000 COVID-19 cases reported by late Sunday afternoon, with more than 2,400 deaths.