- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2020

President Trump pleaded with Americans Monday to put their lives on hold for another 30 days, saying their behavior over the next month will make or break the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

“Our future is in our own hands,” he said from the White House Rose Garden. “The choices and sacrifices we make will determine the fate of this virus and really the fate of our victory.”

Mr. Trump on March 16 asked the American people to work and learn at home, avoid crowds and nonessential travel and use carryout instead of dining inside restaurants.

He hoped to loosen those rules by the end of March and get things up and running by Easter, though pivoted after seeing models that said up to 2 million people could die if the virus was left unchecked.

Instead of relaxing the guidelines, he said they’ll be “very much as they are, maybe toughened up a bit.”

“Really we have no other choice,” Mr. Trump said Monday. “This is a very vital 30 days. We’re sort of putting it all on the line.”

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sort of putting it all on the line.”

Mr. Trump said he’s OK with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to largely shut things down through early June.

“We’re letting the governors do pretty much what they want with our supervision,” Mr. Trump said. “Some go further than others.”

The president said the U.S. is in “good shape” even as the case count reached nearly 160,000. Nearly 6,000 have recovered, yet the death toll neared 3,000.

He pointed to the arrival of the USNS Comfort in New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak, to free up hospital space, and said he believes there will be enough ventilators to help patients in the coming days.

Mr. Trump says the U.S. will produce so much medical equipment it can send a surplus to hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain.

Mr. Trump again suggested that masks are somehow being siphoned out of the supply at one busy New York City hospital and that reporters should look into the spike in usage.

“How come now you have 300,000 masks, despite the virus and all?” he said. “How do you go from 10- to 300,000?”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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