President Donald Trump took a step back from his wish to relax federal social distancing guidelines prompted by the spread of the coronavirus by Easter, instead announcing that he will extend the measures until the end of April, and possibly into June, the New York Times reports.
“During this period, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines. Have to follow the guidelines,” Trump told reporters on Sunday. “Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread.”
“We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery,” he added. “We think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening.”
Last week, when the president said that he would look into encouraging businesses to reopen and loosen the strict guidelines, possibly by Easter, he was met with swift and immediate backlash from public health experts.
Experts have long warned that returning to normal life too quickly, including reopening public gathering spaces such as schools, offices, bars and restaurants, could lead to an increased and unnecessary number of deaths as a result of the virus continuing to spread unchecked.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that he and other public health officials had reiterated such to the president, encouraging him not to relax the federal guidelines too soon.
As the Times notes, Fauci made appearances on TV earlier Sunday stating that up to 200,000 could die from COVID-19, even with drastic measures in place.
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