WASHINGTON, DC (ABC News) — President Trump officially reversed his call to reopen businesses by Easter and said he will extend the nation’s coronavirus social distancing guidelines to April 30.
“The modelling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump said at his daily briefing at the White House. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.”
The guidelines cover work from home directives, travel limitations, business closures and other efforts to combat the virus. Trump said that his office will give more details about the new plans on Tuesday.
“We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery,” Trump said. “We think by June 1st, a lot of great things will be happening.”
The announcement came just days after the president said he hoped that Easter would be a celebration of the virus’ defeat.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the new extensions are a “wise and prudent decision.”
In the interim, Trump said that his public health advisers recommended against loosening social distancing restrictions in states or regions that haven’t been as hard hit by the virus, as had previously been discussed.
The president said data suggested that up to 2.2 million people would die if nothing was being done to stem the virus.
More than 33,000 people have been killed around the world as the amount of novel coronavirus cases continues to skyrocket, with the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases globally surpassing 713,000 on Sunday.
The number of cases has grown exponentially in a matter of weeks. Last Thursday, there were 500,000 cases worldwide, which was double the number of worldwide coronavirus cases from the week before.
The U.S. stood at more than 136,000 diagnosed coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 2,409 deaths in the country.
At least 148,000 people have recovered from the virus during this pandemic.