President Donald Trump said today at a press briefing that social distancing measures being voluntarily adopted and imposed by governments to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus could be necessary for several months.
"Each and every one of us has a critical role to play in stopping the transmission of the virus," Trump said during this afternoon's press briefing. "It's important for the young and healthy people to understand that while they experience milder symptoms, they can easily spread this virus. And they will spread it indeed, putting people in harm's way."
The new White House guidelines released today advise senior citizens and those with serious underlying health conditions—the population most at risk of suffering serious health consequences from the disease—to stay home and away from other people.
Households that have had a single member test positive for the coronavirus are being told to keep everyone at home. "Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider," the White House guidelines say.
Younger, healthier people are being advised to work from home whenever possible, and not to visit nursing homes. They are also being told to avoid discretionary trips, and to not gather in groups of more than 10 people.
These guidelines are for at least the next 15 days. However, when asked by a reporter how long the coronavirus crisis could last, Trump said we could be in this situation until the end of summer.
"People are talking about July, August, something like that," Trump said.
In addition to the White House guidelines, states and local governments continue to order shutdowns of bars and restaurants, with some counties going so far as to issue "shelter in place" orders.