President Trump on Thursday announced that the White House's guidelines for beginning to, which he said was reached with input from medical experts and scientists. , which are described in an 18-page document that puts much of the , tracing and decision-making on governors.
"We are not opening all at once, but one, careful step at a time," Mr. Trump said, adding that states will reopen their economies at different times.
On aThursday afternoon, the president told them, "You're gonna call your own shots." The plan calls for higher-risk populations — older Americans and those with certain underlying health conditions — to remain sheltering in place for the foreseeable future, while some Americans might begin to return to work. Governors ultimately have the authority to decide when to lift or continue their shelter-in-place and other mitigation measures.
During Thursday's briefing, the president said a handful of states that have already meet the criteria could begin the new guidelines "literally tomorrow." States will be very "vigilant" and very "careful."
said the plan is not a "light switch," and changes will be gradual. The "dominating drive" of this plan was to make sure it was done in the safest way possible, he said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters that the administration "did not put a timeline on any of the phases" and was leaving to governors and the data they have to determine the best timing for their states.
Mr. Trump has signaled that he is eager for the country to begin a return to normalcy, and earlier this week rolled out a host of industry-specific groups comprised of business leaders and experts who will focus on an economic revival. While the president said he will announce the new guidelines after speaking with governors — he was scheduled to hold a video call with them at 3 p.m. — some across the country aretheir own regional groups to examine when to ease restrictions.Public health officials have said that social distancing measures are having an impact on slowing the spread of the coronavirus but are encouraging Americans to remain vigilant in their efforts.
"I will just remind the American people again: This is a highly contagious virus," Dr. Birx told reporters Wednesday. "Social gatherings, coming together, there's always a chance that an asymptomatic person can spread the virus unknowingly. No one is intending to spread the virus. We know if you are sick, you will stay home. But to all of you that are out there that would like to join together and just have that dinner party for 20: Don't do it yet."