WASHINGTON (AP) — Bracing the nation for a coronavirus death toll that could exceed 100,000 people, President Donald Trump extended restrictive social distancing guidelines through April, bowing to public health experts who presented him with even more dire projections for the expanding coronavirus pandemic.
It was a stark shift in tone by the Republican president, who only days ago mused about the country reopening in a few weeks. From the Rose Garden, he said his Easter revival hopes had only been “aspirational.”
The initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires today, and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic. He instead decided to extend them through April 30, a tacit acknowledgment he’d been too optimistic. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.