Trump Says Crisis Could Last Until July, Recommends No Gatherings Over 10 People

President Trump Joins Coronavirus Task Force Press Conference At White House

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the press briefing room at the White House on … [+] March 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Topline: President Donald Trump announced new guidance Monday that all Americans, including the young and healthy, should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid all non-essential travel and avoid eating in bars, restaurants and public food courts, the strictest measures yet suggested by the federal government in battling the coronavirus.

  • Not only should Americans avoid groups of more than 10 people in restaurants and bars, the public should avoid gatherings of that size inside homes too.
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, a response coordinator on the White House coronavirus task force, also said that if one person inside a household gets diagnosed with Covid-19, everyone living there should quarantine in the house to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
  • Americans should follow the increased CDC guidelines for the next 15 days, after which the agency will reevaluate whether those recommendations will be extended.
  • Both Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the outbreak could last until July or August “if we do a really good job.”
  • Public health experts say the U.S. is working to spread the number of new cases out over a longer period of time (or “flattening the curve”), thereby preventing a quick spike in infections that would overwhelm the U.S. health system.

Crucial quote: “The reason we’re taking these strong and bold steps is because we know there is virus spread before you develop symptoms. And then we know there is a large group, we don’t know the precise percent yet, that is actually asymptomatic or has such mild cases that they continue to spread the virus,” Birx said.

News peg: The coronavirus has disrupted everyday life as both the federal and local governments enact strong restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the disease. The San Francisco Bay Area will put everyone under a “shelter in place” order while other cities and states have closed all restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms.

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