Won't extend social distancing guidelines, may hold rallies soon: Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. Photo: PTI
President Donald Trump has said the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire on Thursday. His son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, predicted that by July the country will be really rocking again.

To underscore his confidence, Trump said he plans to resume out-of-state travel after spending more than a month mostly cooped up in the White House, starting with a trip to Arizona next week, news agency PTI reported.

And he said he's hoping to hold mass campaign rallies in the coming months with thousands of supporters, even though medical experts have said there is little hope of having a vaccine by then.

Putting a positive face, Trump delivered his daily update on coronavirus and Kushner described the administration's much-criticized response to the pandemic as "a great success story.

Trump also talked about the good news the day provided: hopeful results for a possible Covid-19 treatment.

The US economy shrank at a 4.8 per cent annual rate in first quarter of the year a precursor to far grimmer reports that are expected this summer from the severe recession triggered by the pandemic.

The White House has been trying to pivot to a new stage of the crisis, focused on efforts to reopen the nation's economy state-by-state amid concerns that lifting restrictions too quickly and without sufficient testing and contact tracing will spur a resurgence.

"We're heartened that the worst of the pain and suffering is going to be behind us," Trump said as he led a roundtable with executives from companies like Hilton and Toyota.

Trump laid out a vision of a return to pre-coronavirus normalcy with or without a vaccine with packed restaurants and filled stadiums. That vision flies in the face of sober assessments from doctors who say the country will need to embrace a new normal" that includes extended social distancing and mask-wearing.

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