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16 Mar, 2020 20:18

Trump urges no gatherings of 10+ people, says peak of coronavirus could carry into ‘July or August’

Trump urges no gatherings of 10+ people, says peak of coronavirus could carry into ‘July or August’

The White House is encouraging people to avoid crowds of 10 or more and practice social distancing over the next 15 days, while President Donald Trump says the response to the disease could last for months.

The safety tips released by the White House on Monday include avoiding large public spaces like restaurants, bars, and food courts, which shouldn’t be hard since states like New York, Illinois, and others have ordered establishments such as these to only serve takeout and delivery customers.

The elderly, who are most at risk of dying from the coronavirus, are encouraged to “stay home and away from people” in the new guidelines. The handout also asks young, healthy people to do their part and practice social distancing.

“It is critical that you do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” it reads.

Trump revealed that a vaccine for the virus is in phase one clinical trials, but said life might not return to normal for US citizens until “July or August,” and that it could take even longer than that. 

The public has been facing new financial burdens with businesses across the nation shutting down in response to the coronavirus. School closures have also led to the issue of children who rely on free or reduced-price lunches at school not being fed.

Also on rt.com Coronavirus calls US’ ‘world's richest country’ bluff: Will it cling to busted myths or evolve under pressure?

Hospitals are bracing for more coronavirus patients as state and federal responses get more serious, with some choosing to cancel elective surgeries to clear up space for coronavirus patients.

Several hospitals in the Seattle area, for instance, have canceled elective surgeries for the next 30 days.

The president said at his briefing that the best thing for the economy is to “get through this crisis.” Asked whether we are headed into a recession, he said, “well, yes, we may be.”

Shortly after his remarks on the economy, the Dow Jones plunged by nearly 3,000 at the close of trading on Monday. The 13-percent drop marks the worst for the Dow since the infamous Black Monday crash in 1987.

Also on rt.com Dow plunges 3,000 points in biggest single-day drop

Asked about closing the borders, Trump said he has not yet made a decision, but it is something the administration is “thinking” about.

The president also addressed primary votes being postponed in places like Ohio, where the governor is seeking to push Tuesday’s vote to June.

Calling the decision to cancel the vote “tough,” the president said it’s a decision he will leave in the hands of states, rather than the federal government.

“I’d leave that up to the states, that’s a big deal postponing an election,” he said.

Arizona, Florida and Illinois also have primary votes on Tuesday.

Putting social distancing into practice, the White House press room sat reporters one seat apart, unusual for a room that is typically crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with people. 

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