By ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is extending the voluntary national distancing guidelines until April 30 as precaution to the coronavirus pandemic rise in the U.S.
The initial “15 days to flatten the curve” period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires Monday and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic. But instead he decided to extend them through April 30. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, called the president’s decision prudent.
Fauci previously said the U.S. could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic. Trump’s decision to extend the guidelines reflected a recognition that the struggle will take place over the longer haul.
The federal guidelines recommend against large group gatherings and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home. People are urged to work at home when possible and avoid restaurants, bars, non-essential travel and shopping trips.
The U.S. had more than 137,000 COVID-19 cases reported by late Sunday afternoon, with more than 2,400 deaths.