President Trump, speaking with alarming concern, asked the nation on Monday to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 and to limit discretionary travel and social visits to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it, and that’s what we are,” the president said in announcing a set of guidelines aimed at slowing the virus, which has killed thousands around the world.
“It’s bad. It’s bad," Trump said, indicating for the first time that no nation -- including the U.S. -- has control of the spiraling situation.
Although he stopped short of imposing a national quarantine or curfew, the president said Americans could expect genuine restrictions through July or August -- and acknowledged for the first time that the economy may be heading into a recession.
Besides limiting the size of gatherings for at least the next 15 days, the president urged home schooling and not eating or drinking at bars, restaurants or public food courts.
“If everyone makes this charge or these critical changes and sacrifices now we will rally together as one nation,” Trump said, and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration altogether.”
The guidelines indicate how quickly the virus is spreading and should be taken seriously, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Politico.com.
“When you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are if you think that today reflects where you really are," Fauci said. "It isn’t an overreaction.”
“The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 days to slow the spread," also recommended – but didn’t mandate – that states that have seen COVID-19 spread through the community consider closing bars, restaurants and other public places.
Among the other guidelines:
- Keep everyone home from work and/or school if someone in your house has testified positive for the virus;
- If you're elderly, stay home and away from other people;
- The same goes for anyone with an underlying health condition;
- Do not go to a nursing home, retirement or long-term care facility unless you are providing critical assistance;
- Wash your hands and keep them away from your face.
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