President Donald Trump has extended federal social-distancing guidelines to April 30 and said the coronavirus outbreak in the US was likely to peak in two weeks.
Trump delivered his remarks during a White House press briefing on Sunday night as US coronavirus cases surged to nearly 140,000.
“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” he said. “The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end.”
Trump said his administration would finalize its social-distancing guidelines on Tuesday.
Trump also said the country would be “well on our way to recovery” by June.
“By June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery,” he said. “We think by June 1, a lot of great things will be happening.”
Trump previously touted an Easter deadline for restarting the stalling economy, a move that went against the advice of his own panel of experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has warned that lifting restrictions too soon could exacerbate the coronavirus’ spread. Easter falls on April 12 this year.
“I just thought it was a beautiful time … a beautiful time line,” Trump said last week of why he suggested lifting restrictions by Easter.
But Trump scaled back on an Easter deadline on Sunday night, saying that date was “aspirational.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said extending restrictions until the end of April was a “wise and prudent decision.”
The US has the most known coronavirus cases in the world, with 139,675 confirmed cases and 2,436 deaths as of Sunday night. US cases are largely concentrated in New York, which has more than 59,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections.
Earlier on Sunday, Fauci appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and said that while it was difficult to predict, the US would probably see “millions of cases” of COVID-19 and could see more than 100,000 deaths.
“But I don’t want to be held to that,” he added. “I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said in an interview with the “Today” show last week that if Americans did not practice social-distancing measures, up to 2 million people could die of COVID-19 in the US.
“Continue to follow the guidelines of social distancing and all of the other things about knowing where your hands are and washing your hands,” she said.
Reported By The Business Insider