Trump tells governors he is setting new coronavirus guidelines

Trump tells governors he is setting new coronavirus guidelines

President Donald Trump told America's governors in a letter on Thursday that his administration will soon set new social distancing guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

Trump said in the letter that new coronavirus testing capabilities would allow his administration to identify "high-risk, medium risk and low-risk" counties. And these new guidelines will assist governors and other officials to decide on "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place."

The president said by doing "robust surveillance testing," officials will be able to "monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country."

Public health experts have said easing restrictions too soon could overburden hospitals and lead to more deaths and economic damage related to the virus.

Although the president said in the letter that "there is still a long battle ahead," Trump said Tuesday he wants the country back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, even though his own public health officials have warned that the outbreak will get worse.

"You'll have packed churches all over our country," he told Fox News in an interview. "I think it would be a beautiful time. And it's just about the timeline that I think is right."

The number of reported coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. passed 1,000 on Thursday morning, according to an NBC News count. There have been more than 68,000 reported cases nationwide, Johns Hopkins University said.