White House Extends Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30

According to Fauci, the US could see up to 200,000 deaths.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 29, 2020.Tasos Katopodis/Getty

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President Donald Trump, walking back from his earlier aspirations to ease restrictions on Americans by Easter, extended the national social distancing guidelines through April 30, adding that the deadliest spike could hit in two weeks—on Easter weekend. 

“We know much more now” than when he made the Easter claim, Trump said during a coronavirus task force briefing on Sunday. “By June 1, we’ll be well on our way to recovery,” he added.

More than 2,300 people have died in the United States and at least 135,000 have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday afternoon. New York, the hardest hit state with almost 60,000 cases, saw an increase of more than 7,000 cases in just one day. New York City Bill de Blasio told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday that “We have enough supplies to get to a week from today with the exception of ventilators. We’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly.”

The White House’s extension of social distancing measures is in line with what some state governments are doing as the virus continues to spread. California for example, is strengthening its shelter-in-placer order by closing beaches and hiking trails as it prepares for an anticipated spike in hospitalizations. 

Hours before the press conference Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, had said he believed the United States will see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus, and millions infected. Fauci said at the press conference that “it is entirely conceivable that if we don’t mitigate we could reach that number,” adding that extending the guidelines was the right move and the next two weeks are critical. 

Throughout the hour-long press conference, Trump mentioned multiple times that the United States was “doing more tests than any other country in the world,” which is true by raw numbers, but not per capita. Trump said the Federal Drug Administration has approved testing that will provide “lightning fast results, in as little as five minutes.” Abbott Labs will provide 50,000 of those test daily, as early as next week. 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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