White House's Social Distancing Guidelines Will Be 'Fading Out,' Trump Says
BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ | NPR
President Trump said the existing coronavirus social distancing guidelines that were set to expire with the end of April on Thursday will not be extended further, as more governors begin steps to lift restrictions and reopen their economies.
The administration said the existing social distancing recommendations are being incorporated by governors into their new future plans.
"They'll be fading out, because now the governors are doing it," Trump said.
During a White House meeting with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday, Trump commended governors for taking steps to reopen their economies.
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The original two-week guidelines that were extended 30 more days called for Americans to work from home, limit travel, and avoid large gatherings.
Vice President Mike Pence said the existing guidelines were being applied to the new guidance issued by the White House on how states can reopen 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."
Two weeks ago, the White House released a three-phase plan that would provide guidelines for when states might reopen.
The proposal is predicated on states having a downward trajectory of confirmed cases, and it involves states having the capacity to treat all hospitalized patients, testing of health care workers, and the ability to trace contacts of those infected.
This comes as governors have struggled with the competing interests of reopening their economies while keeping their communities safe.
A handful of states have taken steps to relax their social distance guidelines, including Alaska, Georgia and Tennessee.
Others, like North Carolina and Michigan, have extended their restrictions into May.
Though he once said he had "total" authority regarding when states could reopen, Trump says he is largely leaving those decisions to governors.
"We're doing it very carefully," Trump said. "We learned a lot over the last couple of months."
This article originally appeared on NPR.org.