Fauci: Trump's Shift Came After He Saw Latest Data

'It was a pretty clear picture,' he says of higher death toll projections
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 30, 2020 7:54 PM CDT
Trump Continues New Course: 'Challenging Times' Ahead
President Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, March 30, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Siding with public health experts' dire projections, President Trump on Monday defended his decision to extend restrictive social distancing guidelines through the end of April, while bracing the nation for a coronavirus death toll that could exceed 100,000. “Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days,” Trump said in the Rose Garden, per the AP. He called refraining from public outings “our shared patriotic duty.” The comments came a day after Trump made a dramatic course reversal and announced that he would not be moving to ease the guidelines by Easter. “We showed him the data. ... He got it right away," said Dr. Anthony Fauci. "It was a pretty clear picture," he said. "Dr. Debbie Birx and I went in to the Oval Office and leaned over the desk and said, ‘Here are the data. Take a look.’ He just shook his head and said, ‘I guess we got to do it.’”

Trump spoke with the nation's governors Monday, as did other members of his administration. Birx told the governors that it's “several weeks away from the peak of the curve for the United States.” Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland voiced appreciation for the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill that Trump signed last week and the president's acknowledgement that states will need more help, but he also emphasized that governors are "still frustrated" about a scarcity of medical supplies. Governors also remain unsatisfied with the availability of testing kits to screen patients for the virus. "I can tell you that every single governor in this United States understands the importance and the fact that we are way behind the curve on test kits,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Read the full story for more details.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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