President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines through April 30 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, just days after he suggested reopening the country by Easter. The 15-day guidelines Trump set two weeks ago was set to expire Monday as the president was hinting at relaxing them. Now though, the president is hopeful the country could be back to normal by June 1.
"The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end," Trump said during a news conference at the White House Sunday. He said his team is working on new strategies, which will be announced Tuesday, reports CNN. Trump acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic has not slowed and said he saw models showing the death rate's peak will not hit until two weeks from now.
"We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1st. A lot of great things will be happening," Trump said. "I want our life back."
Back on March 16, Trump and his coronavirus task force released 15-day guidelines based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The guidelines asked Americans to stay home if they feel sick and older people to stay home and away from others. People were also asked to not hold gatherings of 10 or more people. The CDC has also recommended people stay at least six feet apart from each other and to wash your hands regularly with soap for 20 seconds.
On Sunday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted on CNN there could be at least 100,000 deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus. During the press conference, Fauci praised Trump for extending the social distancing guidelines.
"We feel that the mitigation that we're doing right now is having an effect. It's very difficult to quantitate it because you have two dynamic things going on at the same time," Fauci said, reports The Hill. "You have the virus going up, and you have the mitigation trying to push it down."
Fauci called the decision a "wise and prudent" one, adding that he and Dr. Deborah Brix spent a "considerable amount of time going over the all the data, why we felt this was a best choice of us, and the president accepted it."
Throughout the last week, Trump hinted at reopening nonessential businesses around the country due to the slowing economy during the crisis. During a Fox News interview, Trump set Easter as a deadline to reopen the country. On Sunday, Trump described that idea as an "aspiration."
"We had an aspiration of Easter but when you hear these kind of numbers and you hear the potential travesty... we don't want to have a spike up," Trump told a USA Today reporter. "We've gone through too much. So that was an aspiration."
The U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than any other country with more than 142,000 confirmed, reports Johns Hopkins University. More than 2,400 deaths have been reported, including 776 deaths in New York City alone.
Photo credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images