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Social Distancing Guidelines Likely To Go Beyond April

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Social distancing guidelines will likely be in place beyond April, surgeon general says

By Quint Forgey

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Wednesday he believes the federal government's social distancing guidance will extend past the end of April, likely elongating the period in which many Americans will be asked to stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"In my opinion, I think that in 30 days, we will still be telling the country in general that you need to practice these measures," Adams told NBC's "Today" show.

"But in 30 days, some places may not need to have a shelter in place anymore," he continued. "So, again, we'll start to ease this in 30 days, I think, in some places. But in other places, we'll be ramping it up. We'll follow the data, and we'll go on based on what the data tells us."

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday at the conclusion of his administration's "15 Days to Slow the Spread" initiative that he would extend the federal guidance until April 30 — recommending that Americans for another month avoid gatherings of more than 10 people; work or attend school from home whenever possible; and abstain from eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts.

The development came as the U.S. emerged as the global epicenter of the outbreak, reporting more confirmed cases of Covid-19 than anywhere else in the world, while state and local authorities continued to impose various stringent directives limiting people's movements.

Adams on Wednesday declined to state definitively whether it was likely that the administration would again extend its nationwide guidelines into the month of May, emphasizing that communities across the country are all "at a different place on their curve" of coronavirus infections.

"Some places aren't going to hit their peak until after 30 days, and they're going to need to continue social distancing. Other places that leaned in early may be able to relax some of their recommendations earlier," he said.

"We're going to start to look at how we can ease people back in," Adams added, noting that a proposal under consideration by the White House coronavirus task force that Americans wear masks in public is "one of the things were looking at" to support the transition.