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Trump: U.S. Death Rates Likely To Peak In 2 Weeks


President Trump says he's extending his social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus until April 30. He made this announcement during the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. NPR White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe has been following the story, and she's with us now. Ayesha, thanks for joining us.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: Tell us what else the president said about these guidelines.

RASCOE: So, now, the president had said that he was, you know, that it would be great to have the churches full on Easter. And he had set this, which is April 12 - he had set this kind of goal last week all of a sudden that maybe parts of the U.S. would be able to be opened up by Easter. But now, today, he's saying that he's going to extend the social distancing guidelines through April 30. And now he seems to be maybe signaling that this is going to take longer than - this isn't going to be wrapped up by Easter. He's saying that it will be maybe June 1 before we really see - before we're really on our way to recovery as far as the economy and things of that nature.

MARTIN: Now, this comes as the original 15-day guidelines were set to end tomorrow, right?

RASCOE: Yes, they were set to end. And it wasn't clear what was going to replace them. President Trump had sent this letter to governors floating this idea of maybe going county by county in the U.S. and assigning a risk assessment to each one - high, low, medium risk. Of course, that raised questions of how that would be enforced, if, you know, people traveling from county to county, how would that work? The president says that on Tuesday they are going to give more detailed guidance on where they're thinking, where they hope this goes. But this is something where it's clear that, at least through April 30, we're going to have more - these more strict social distancing guidelines in place.

MARTIN: And what about supplies? We know that a lot of states are calling for more, saying that they are - that they're very concerned about the next couple of days. They may have enough now, but they say they don't think they have enough for the peak, which is coming. Did the president say anything about that?

RASCOE: So the president said - he talked about supplies today, and it was really kind of interesting because he had these, you know, the heads of these companies come out who deal with some, you know, getting these supplies out. But he also made some accusations that - without providing any evidence that maybe hospitals are - doing something untoward with masks, maybe hoarding them, hoarding ventilators. Or he said at one point that maybe masks are going out the backdoor. And he - so he seemed to be saying that some of this usage of this protective equipment, maybe it's illegitimate. He did not offer any evidence for that. He was just saying this.

But he did also talk about there is - there are these partnerships that the government has worked out with private companies to fly in protective equipment from other places, from China, and that they're coming to New York, Connecticut, New Jersey to help with these gaps that these health officials say they absolutely need. And so that's part of what the administration is doing right now.

MARTIN: That is NPR White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe. Ayesha, thank you.

RASCOE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.