During Sunday’s White House coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden, President Trump said the federal government’s social distancing guidelines will be extended to at least April 30.
“The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump said. “I will say it again. The peak, the highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks … Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread.”
Five days ago, Trump commented that he hoped Easter, April 12, would be a goal for re-opening much of the country, while the initial 15-day period of social distancing declared by the White House in mid-March was actually scheduled to expire on Monday.
The president admitted on Wednesday that the social distancing would need to continue into April. “I’d love to have it open by Easter, okay?” he said last week. “I would love to have it open by Easter. I will tell you that right now. It’s such an important day for other reasons, but I’ll make it an important day for this, too.”
It’s quite apparent the spread of COVID-19 is dictating that strong efforts to slow the virus be continued for the foreseeable future. Asked on Sunday by a reporter about his previous Easter comments, Trump said that his hope for quick success in the battle against the disease was “just an aspiration.”
The president telegraphed that the struggle will in fact go beyond April when he added: “We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery” and that “a lot of great things will be happening.”
Watch the president’s comments centering around Easter at yesterday’s coronavirus briefing …
Video by Fox News
The Rose Garden briefing had some contentious moments with reporters from various progressive news outlets in attendance.
Responding to a question about whether the economy could be shut down for too long, Trump expressed his concern that drug addictions could skyrocket out of the resulting despair …
“You will see drugs being used like nobody has ever used them before, and people are going to be dying all over the place” — Trump on what would happen if the economy remains largely closed down for too long pic.twitter.com/6JyUXzO5Di
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 29, 2020
Yet, the president’s comments during the briefing clearly reflected his acceptance of the fact that there cannot be a premature lifting of the societal and business restrictions. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all,” Trump said.
He talked about how the disciplined mitigation efforts underway are critical and that the more people who adhere to them, “the faster this nightmare will end.”
“I want the American people to know that your selfless, inspiring and valiant efforts are saving countless lives. You are making the difference,” said Trump.
Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated during the briefing his earlier reported comments that he estimates a possibility of between 100,000 and 200,000 U.S. deaths from the virus. “I think it’s entirely conceivable that if we do not mitigate to the extent that we’re trying to do, that could reach that number … it’s possible,” he told reporters.
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