The White House on Monday urged all older Americans to stay home and everyone to avoid the crowds and eat out as part of new guidelines to deal with an expected outbreak of coronavirus.
President Donald Trump and the coronavirus task force released the guidelines as the U.S. government attempted to mitigate the impact of the virus, rushing to step up testing and aid even when financial markets plummeted and Americans struggled to reorganize their lives.
The new recommendations included: over the next 15 days, Americans should not meet in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided. If a household member is positive for the virus, everyone who lives there should stay at home.
“If everyone in America does what we ask in the next 15 days, we will see a dramatic difference,” said Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, during the White House briefing.
When asked when the pandemic would subside, Trump said that “if we really do a good job,” the crisis could pass by July or August, a much less optimistic approach than in his previous predictions that it could end in a few weeks.
“We will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” added the President. “We can turn the corner and turn it quickly.”
Trump also recognized for the first time that the virus, which has hit global markets, could plunge the country’s economy into a recession, a potentially brutal blow to an outgoing president during an election year.
He also, without providing details, said of the administration: “We will support the airlines 100%”, a note of comfort for an industry paralyzed by travel bans and fears of spreading the virus.
Trump, who adopted his darkest tone to date in discussing the crisis, admitted that it was “not under control” in the United States or the world, but said he didn’t had no plans to request restrictions on domestic travel yet.
The administration did not immediately define what an elderly American was in terms of the recommendation to stay at home.
Trump also said on Monday that he could ask the military to help build temporary hospitals to fight the worsening coronavirus epidemic.
When asked if the Army Corps of Engineers would build emergency hospitals, Trump replied, “We are examining it … we are examining it very carefully.”
(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)