Patrick Semansky, AP Photo

Trump extends federal social distancing guidelines to April 30

By Paul Leblanc, Jason Hoffman and Kevin Liptak, CNN | Updated - Mar. 29, 2020 at 5:56 p.m. | Posted - Mar. 29, 2020 at 4:27 p.m.



WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) — President Donald Trump said Sunday he would extend his social distancing guidelines to April 30 as novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the US.

"The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end," the President said at a White House news conference. "Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30th, to slow the spread. On Tuesday we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people."

Trump said that modeling shows that the peak of the death rate will likely hit in two weeks, but stressed that he hopes the country will be on its way to recovery by June 1.

"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.

The White House's guidance advises all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urges older people to stay at home.

The announcement marked an abrupt turnaround from a week ago when Trump said he was convinced the distancing restrictions were causing irreparable damage to the economy.

Even as his health advisers warned of dire consequences if Americans were allowed to return to large gatherings or crowded workplaces, Trump appeared intent on allowing a return to normal life.

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He heard from business leaders and some conservative allies that the restrictions were more damaging than the virus itself. And he floated a goal of having packed churches on Easter — April 12 — after determining that Americans needed an end-date for the restrictions to look ahead to.

Over the course of the week, however, Trump appeared more wary of lifting the guidelines he had announced himself and which had been branded "President Trump's 15 Days to Slow the Spread."

He said on Friday that his priority in dealing with the virus was Americans' health, not the economy.

And he suggested he was aware that most health professionals would not advise a full-scale return to life as normal.

This is a breaking story and has been updated.

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