Coronavirus: Trump says 'new normal' of shutdowns and social distancing could last until August or later

'It’s not under control anywhere anywhere in the world'

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 16 March 2020 16:38
Coronavirus: Trump says 'new normal' of shutdowns and social distancing could last until August or later

Donald Trump has said the “new normal” of shutdowns and social distancing could last until August or even beyond.

A day after telling Americans they should “relax” because the government was on top of the situation, the president was asked how the shutdowns, closures and social distancing being seen across the nation would last.

“If we do a really good job, we’ll not only hold the death down to a level that is much lower than the other way, had we not done a good job, but people are talking about July, August, something like that,” he said.

He added: “Could be longer that.”

Just 24 hours before, the president had urged Americans to relax and to avoid panic shopping saying the nation was “doing great”.

But as the markets continued to plunge, the president admitted the virus was not under control – “it’s not under control anywhere in the world”.

Urging people to avoid schools, sports and social gatherings of more than 10 people for the next two weeks, the president’s mood appeared markedly darker then during previous appearances before the cameras.

Mr Trump said as of Monday there were no plans for a nationwide quarantine or curfew.

He said the administration might be looking at certain hotspots, but there aren’t plans to do a nationwide quarantine or curfew.

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“At this point, not nationwide, but there are some — you know, some places in our nation that are not very affected at all but we may — we may look at certain areas,” he said when asked.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said the new coronavirus guidelines from the White House may look like an overreaction, but said they were necessary.

“It will always seem that the best way to address it would be to be doing something that looks like it might be an overreaction. It isn’t an overreaction. It’s a reaction we feel is commensurate which is actually going on in reality,“ he said.

Mr Trump also said it was possible the US could enter a recession.

“Well, it may be,” he said. “We’re not thinking in terms of recession.”

He added: “We have the best people in the world we are really the greatest experts in the world. And someday soon hopefully it’ll end. and we’ll be back to where it was when this came out.”

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