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National News

Trump Extends Social Distancing Until End of April

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Trump Extends Social Distancing Until End of April

2020-03-30 11:27:26

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

Donald Trump is continuing throughout the coronavirus pandemic to flip his opinions completely. After referring to it as a hoax for more than a month, he finally started taking it seriously. He said last week he wanted to have everything opened up again by Easter, but now he is doing an about face, announcing that he is extending "social distancing" guidelines for another 30 days. 

The coronavirus COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China. The first patient in the United States tested postive in January. It had a rather slow start, other than clusters of the virus. Two months later there are more than 2,000 who have died from the disease with nearly 150,000 testing positive.

Two weeks ago the president first announced social distancing guidelines that were se to expire Monday. But with the economy doing badly, he wanted to reopen the country to business again and last week threw out Easter as a day everything would be back to normal. He believed social distancing was damaging the economy irreparably. 

He issued that directive despite being warned by his health advisers of dire consequences if the public was allowed to gather again. The distsancing calls for all people to be no closer than six feet apart and that groups of more than 10 should not be entertained, preventing many people from working.

Throughout the week Trump began to slowly back away from that desire to reopen by Easter. On Friday he said his priority was America's health and not the economy and suggested he was aware that most health professionals were advising it would be a mistake to return to normalcy so soon.  

When he was questioned Sunday about his directive last week, he said choosing Easter as the end date was "aspirational."

On Sunday he flipped that notion. "The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end," said Trump on Sunday during a news conference at the White House. He added he would be finalizing a new plan and strategy and that he would announc the details on Tuesday. 

Truump also said on Sunday that modeling shows that the peak of the death rate will likely hit in two weeks, and he wants the country to be on its way to recovery by June 1, a far cry from wanting normalcy by Easter.

"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," he said. "I want our life back again." 

While many options have been discussed among the president's advisers, problems with testing have made it difficult to see the full extent of the virus.

Trump's infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, predicted on CNN on Sunday that more than 100,000 Americans could eventually die from COVID-19 while millions more would be infected. 

Trump noted he didn't believe Fauci's larger numbers he'd mentioned earlier and called the doctor to the podium. Fauci only repeated the same thing he'd said on CNN.

Fauci added that Trump agreed not to invoke a strict quarantime after discussions in the White House. While he still believes it's "entirely conceivable" more more than a million people will contract the virus, mitigation and extending the social distancing guidelines will hopefully affect those numbers positively. 

The doctor was one of Trump's health advisers to encourage continuing the guidelines instead of abruptly ending them on Easter. Yet, busines leaders and some of the president's conservative allies felt the restrictions would be more damaging to the country than the virus.

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