Trump extends COVID-19 guidance to April 30

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING:

"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all."

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday extended to April 30th, the federal guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus -- measures that include social distancing and limiting gatherings to 10 people that had already been in place.

Trump changed course from his from original target date of April 12, when he had wanted to reopen the U.S. economy, noting that coronavirus could peak around Easter.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING:

"We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread. We can expect that by June 1st we will be well on our way to recovery by June 1st."

Trump's announcement came after the government's top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in an interview with CNN warned that the number of deaths from coronavirus could reach 200,000 in the U.S. with millions of cases.

(SOUNBITE) (English) NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIRECTOR ANTHONY FAUCI, SAYING:

"The idea that we may have these many cases, played a role in our decision in trying to make sure that we don't do something prematurely and pull back, when we should be pushing."


Trump said if he could hold down the numbers from a more dramatic projected model of 2.2 million deaths, it would mean that his coronavirus task force had done a quote "very good job."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING:

"And I'm so glad that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, gave us a number. And the number on the outside -- these 2.2. million people would have died if we didn't do what we're doing. And now we're looking at much, much, much, lower than that, and it makes everything that we're doing feel much better to me."

Trump earlier on Sunday, without citing specific evidence, accused hospitals of hoarding ventilators that are in scarce supply across the country, adding any hospitals not using the devices must release them.

From the Rose Garden, Trump said the images he'd seen on TV were like none he'd ever seen before in the U.S.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING:

"Body bags all over, in hallways. I've been watching them bring in trailer trucks, freezer trucks, because they can't handle the bodies."

Last Friday, Trump signed A $2.2 trillion dollar emergency coronavirus relief measure into law -- the largest aid package ever passed by Congress.

The $2.2 trillion measure includes half-a-trillion to help hard-hit industries and payments of around $3,000 to millions of families, many of whom are badly suffering financially.