President Donald Trump said Thursday that United States officials are developing guidelines to rate counties for their risk of spreading the virus, as their goal is to begin easing national guidelines aimed at stopping the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the country's governors, Trump said the new guidelines are intended to allow state and local leaders to make "decisions about maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other measures they have implemented." The states and municipalities would still retain the authority to establish the restrictions that they consider necessary.
Trump, in recent days, has indicated that he wants the economy to reopen before April 12. But experts, including those within his administration, say the restrictions, including business closings, may have to last longer, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow. the country.
Last week, Trump unveiled a 15-day program that discourages large gatherings and calls on many Americans to remain at home. The guidelines, issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They are voluntary, but many state and local leaders have issued mandatory restrictions in line with, or even stricter than, those issued by the CDC.
In a conference call with governors on Thursday, Trump underscored the need to reopen businesses and acknowledge regional differences in the effects of the virus.
"We all have to be smart," Trump said in the call, the audio of which was obtained by The Associated Press news agency. "We have to open our country, sorry."
Mississippi Republican Governor Tate Reeves, who has not ordered the closure of businesses or limits on social behavior, thanked Trump for acknowledging that the virus has affected states differently and "one size fits all."
"I appreciate that you realized that," Reeves said.
Health experts have made it clear that, unless Americans continue to drastically limit social interaction (staying home from work and isolating themselves), the number of infections will overwhelm the health system, as it has in some parts of Italy, which will cause many more deaths.
Scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, have warned against artificial schedules.
"You must understand that you are not on the timeline, the virus makes the timeline," Fauci told CNN on Wednesday. "Then you have to answer, in what you see happening."
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump developed the Easter date as a goal to give "hope,quot; to people.
"I think Easter the president was giving people a lot of hope and he basically told us it won't last forever, and we'll see what happens over time," he told reporters on Thursday.
While the worst outbreaks are concentrated in certain parts of the country, most significantly in New York, experts warn that the highly infectious disease will surely spread.
Trump said implementing additional tests will allow for more nuanced recommendations that would allow some less affected parts of the country to regain a sense of normalcy sooner.
"Our expanded testing capabilities will allow us to quickly publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the country's public health officials and scientists, to help rank counties for the continuing risks posed by the virus," Trump said.
Trump, apparently alluding to the forthcoming guidelines, promised that there would be new "statistics,quot; and favorable "facts,quot; from the federal government in the next two days.
"Some good statistics are coming out that will make their lives easier," Trump said.