Monday, March 30, 2020

President Trump Extends Coronavirus Guidelines, Abandons Hope of Easter Reopening

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
President Trump said Sunday he is extending his guidelines for Americans to stay at home because of the coronavirus until April 30, abandoning his hope of opening up business by Easter as modeling suggests the death toll could reach tens of thousands and peak two weeks from now.
He said the White House will release a new strategy for states by Tuesday and hopes to have everything up and running by June 1.
Mr. Trump on March 16 said he wanted Americans to work and learn at home, avoid non-essential travel and use takeout instead of entering restaurants through March 31.
He’s mused about a new plan that ranks U.S. counties by risk to get things humming by mid-April. Now, he says the peak death rate won’t come for two more weeks from now, so he extended the mitigation strategy through the end of April.
Mr. Trump pegged the decision to daunting modeling about the sheer scale of the pandemic and potential deaths.
“You’re talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million [deaths] and some people said it could even be higher than that,” he said. “And so if we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000 … We all together have done a very good job.”
Members of his coronavirus task force said modeling is based on a variety of issues and “extremes,” so people shouldn’t assume the worst.
On Feb. 26, Mr. Trump said the number of COVID-19 cases “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
“We’re going very substantially down, not up,” he said.
“Easter should be the peak number,” he said.
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