President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the White House will not be extending its CCP virus social distancing guidelines that are set to expire on May 1 as more states look to re-open their economies.
Trump told reporters that the administration will be “fading out” the guidelines, which were initially put in place to curb the transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
Instead, governors will incorporate existing recommendations into their new future plans, he said.
“They’ll be fading out, because now the governors are doing it,” the president said during a roundtable with business leaders to discuss the strategy to reopen the U.S. economy.
The White House’s “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines were originally supposed to last 15 days, and were then extended an additional 30.
Under the measures, Americans are encouraged to work from home and avoid restaurants, group gatherings, and discretionary travel. The elderly and those with serious underlying health conditions were also advised to self-isolate.
Vice President Mike Pence said that the existing social distancing guidelines were being incorporated into the new guidance issued by the White House earlier this month that details how states can reopen gradually and safely.
“Every state in America has embraced those guidelines at a minimum, or even done more, and now our focus is working with states,” Pence said. “The current guidelines, I think you can say, are very much incorporated in the guidance that we’re giving states to open up America again.”
Earlier this month, the White House unveiled 3-phase guidelines for governors to reopen their states. The new guidelines are aimed at clearing the way for an easing of restrictions in areas with a low transmission rate of the CCP virus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit locations.
Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a 3-phase gradual reopening of businesses and schools, with each phase lasting at least 14 days, meant to ensure that the virus outbreak doesn’t accelerate again.
A wave of states across the United States have started to ease their lockdown measures, including Florida, Alaska, Georgia, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, and Tennessee, while some states including Michigan and North Carolina have extended their social distancing guidelines into May.
The announcement from the White House comes amid reports that the U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in first quarter of the year—a precursor to far grimmer reports that some analysts say can be expected this summer from the severe recession triggered by the pandemic.
The White House has been pivoting to a new stage of the crisis, focused on efforts to reopen the nation’s economy state-by-state, although some have expressed concerns that lifting restrictions too quickly and without sufficient testing and contact tracing will spur a resurgence.
“We’re heartened that the worst of the pain and suffering is going to be behind us,” Trump said Wednesday of the modeled April virus peak in the country.
The United States by Thursday morning reported more than 1 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, with more than 60,000 deaths.