HealthDay News — As U.S. coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise, President Donald Trump on Sunday extended strict social distancing guidelines for the country to April 30.
By Monday morning, more than 141,000 COVID-19 cases had been reported nationwide, with almost 2,500 deaths, The New York Times reported. Based on data from public health experts indicating that easing social distancing too quickly could escalate the number of cases and deaths, Trump said all Americans must continue to avoid nonessential travel, going to work, eating at bars and restaurants, or gathering in groups of more than 10 for at least another month.
Earlier in the day, Anthony Fauci, M.D., a member of the White House coronavirus task force and the country’s top infectious diseases expert, had estimated that 200,000 people could die from coronavirus in the United States, The Times reported. Deborah Birx, M.D., the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, added that without any social distancing measures, the same computer models project that nearly 2 million Americans could die from COVID-19.
“The idea that we may have these many cases played a role in our decision in trying to make sure that we don’t do something prematurely, and pull back when we should be pushing,” Fauci explained during the Sunday media briefing. “Dr. Birx and I spent a considerable amount of time going over all the data, why we felt this was a best choice for us, and the president accepted it.”
In an unprecedented move on Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all residents of three states surrounding New York City — New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut — to refrain from travel to other states during the next 14 days to help stop the spread of COVID-19.