Trump extends social distancing guidelines to April 30


President Donald Trump on Sunday announced he's extending his administration's guidelines on social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak until April 30.

Trump said last week he wanted to see much of the country return to normal by Easter, April 12, despite warnings from top health experts that easing the guidelines too soon could cause widespread deaths and economic damage.

Trump said Friday he would be consulting with his administration's top medical experts on whether to extend or change the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

But on Sunday, Trump said the Easter target date was “just an aspiration” and said he expects “great things to be happening” by June 1. Instead, Trump said he believes Easter will mark "the peak number, and it should start coming down, hopefully very substantially at that point."

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said the choice to extend the guidelines was not made lightly.

"We know it’s a huge sacrifice for everyone," she said, adding that more detailed guidance will be released Tuesday.

Earlier Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN"s "State of the Union" he anticipates the coronavirus could kill between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans while infecting "millions," though he said the outbreak is difficult to model as it is "such a moving target."

Trump said his administration was extending the guidelines with hopes of avoiding a catastrophic death toll. He said that if the U.S. "could hold that down to 100,000" or fewer deaths, his administration will have done a great job in handling the outbreak.

Much of the nation is currently shuttered to contain the spread of the disease, which first appeared in China late last year. As of Sunday morning, roughly 140,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., the highest total of any nation, with more than 2,400 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.