US tells older people to stay home, all ages to avoid crowds
WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday urged all older Americans to stay home and everyone to avoid crowds and eating out at restaurants as part of sweeping guidelines meant to combat an expected surge of coronavirus cases.
President Donald Trump and the coronavirus task force released the guidelines as the U.S. government moved to try to blunt the impact of the virus, racing to bolster testing and aid even as financial markets fell and Americans scrambled to reorder their lives.
Among the new recommendations: Over the next 15 days, Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided. If anyone in a household tests positive for the virus, everyone who lives there should stay home.
The president, in an appearance in the White House briefing room, when asked when the pandemic would subside, said that “if we do a really good job" the crisis could pass by July or August, a far less optimistic take than in his earlier predictions that it could be over within weeks.
“We will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” Trump said. “We can turn the corner and turn it quickly.”
The administration did not immediately define what an “an older American" was in terms of the recommendation to stay home.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
The U.S. government moved Monday to try to blunt the impact of an expected surge of coronavirus cases, racing to bolster testing and aid even as the financial markets fell and Americans scrambled to reorder their lives.
In a capital resplendent in cherry blossoms but awash in anxiety, Congress convened to try to finish an aid package and consider another one behind it. The Supreme Court postponed oral arguments for the first time in over a century. Many people in the capital, as around the country, sought safe distance from each other.
President Donald Trump and other leaders of the Group of Seven countries spoke in a video teleconference about coordinating their responses to the virus. This, after some European leaders were upset by Trump's decision last week to impose a travel ban without consulting them.
Trump has implored Americans not to hoard groceries and supplies, saying there is no need to do so, as the White House works to get diagnostic testing much more widely available after lagging on that front for weeks. It was not considering enacting or recommending a nation-wide curfew, nor enacting limits on domestic travel, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to address spiraling rumors.
The U.S. surgeon general said Monday that the United States is about where Italy was two weeks ago in the coronavirus struggle, a sign that infections are expected to rise.
“We are at a critical inflection point in this country, people," Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Fox News. "When you look at the projections, there's every chance that we could be Italy." Yet he said the U.S. has opportunities to mitigate the pandemic.
Two weeks ago, Italy had 1,700 cases of coronavirus and had reported 34 deaths. Now, Italy is reporting an estimated 25,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths. About 3,800 cases have been reported in the United States and so far, more than 65 people have died from coronavirus. Although the numbers may not be directly comparable, the trajectory is, as Adams sees it.