Per Axios, President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.
TheHill reports Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who is also helping lead the White House’s coronavirus task force, called President Trump’s decision to keep the government’s current social distancing guidelines in place through the end of April a “wise” one.
“We feel that the mitigation that we’re doing right now is having an effect, it’s very difficult to quantitate it because you have two dynamic things going on at the same time,” Fauci said a press conference outside the White House on Sunday.
“You have the virus going up and you have the mitigation trying to push it down,” he continued. But Fauci added that Trump’s decision “to extend this mitigation process until the end of end April, I think was a wise and prudent decision.”
“Dr. Birx and I spent a considerable amount of time going over the all the data, why we felt this was a best choice of us and the president accepted it,” Fauci continued, referring to White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.
Fauci, who warned earlier on Sunday that millions in the U.S. could be infected by the virus in the coming weeks, given the rapid pace of the COVID-19 outbreak, added that the possibility of the number of cases ballooning in the country played “a role in our decision in trying to makes sure that we don’t do something prematurely and pull back when we should be pushing.”
Trump drew headlines last week after he floated the idea lifting restrictions in certain areas of the country in efforts to boost the economy as a number of states have ordered nonessential business to close in recent weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“You can destroy a country this way, by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous,” Trump said then.
Shortly after his comments on Tuesday, Fauci also said that Trump’s timeline should be “flexible.”
“You can look at a date but you’ve got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis. You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do,” Fauci said.