March 26 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Thursday told U.S. governors his administration is looking to set up new guidelines for them to determine when and where they can ease social distancing rules in their states.
The letter Trump sent governors about his plans echoes statements he’s made in daily news briefings and on Twitter about a desire to have the nation “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” Easter falls on April 12.
“My administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local policymakers to use in making decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place,” he wrote to the governors.
Trump said that through expanded testing and work with public health officials and scientists, the government plans to classify which counties continue to face risks posed by the coronavirus. By monitoring the spread of the virus, the government will classify counties as high, medium or low risk.
“With each passing day, our increasingly extensive testing capabilities are giving us a better understanding of the virus and its path,” he wrote. “As testing gives us more information about who has been infected, we are tracking the virus and isolating it to prevent further spread.”
As COVID-19 has spread throughout the country, states and local jurisdictions have implemented stay-at-home orders, preventing non-essential businesses from operating and non-essential workers from going to their places of employment.
It has led to a wildly fluctuating stock market and historic increase in unemployment claims. Trump said he’s eager to get the country back to work, saying that “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.”
Public health officials, though, have been reluctant to set a deadline on when shelter-in-place orders should be lifted. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said any deadline to loosen restrictions should be “flexible.”