Trump extends social distancing to April 30; official warns 'no metro area' will be spared

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, delivers his remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. |

President Donal Trump announced Sunday that social-distancing guidelines have been extended through the end of April. His administration’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned that the whole of America needs to prepare for the outbreak as “no state or metro area will be spared.”

Speaking at a news conference at the White House, Trump said the death rate from COVID-19 is expected to peak in two weeks and the recovery might begin by June 1.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before victory is won,” he said. “It’s very important that everybody strongly follow the guidelines.”

As of early Monday, there were 732,153 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus with a death toll of 34,686 and 154,673 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, the number of confirmed cases reached 143,055 with 2,513 deaths, out of which at least 776 occurred in New York.

Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to hospital administrators across the country on Sunday, requesting them to provide testing data to the federal government so that the White House Coronavirus Task Force can make informed decisions to protect the American people from the novel coronavirus.

The data, Pence wrote, “is critical for epidemiological surveillance and public health decision making.”

“We understand that you may already be reporting to your State, but the data is needed at the federal level to support FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their efforts to support states and localities in addressing and responding to the virus.”

On Sunday, NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd spoke to Dr. Birx, asking, “It took from February 29th to March 17th to get to 100 deaths. It took another nine days to get to 1,000 deaths. Sadly, it took 72 hours to get to 2,000 deaths … where are we today and where is this headed in the next few weeks?”

This is the way pandemics work, she replied. “And that’s why we all are deeply concerned and why we’ve been raising the alert in all metro areas and in all states.”

She warned, “No state, no metro area will be spared. And the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they’ve put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Sunday that President Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for Washington, D.C., providing federal emergency aid to supplement the District’s recovery efforts in the areas affected by the coronavirus.

The United States is likely to have “millions” of cases of COVID-19 and up to 200,000 may die by the time the pandemic ends, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN.

However, he also cautioned that such projections of deaths could “easily” prove to be wrong.

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