Trump Plan Seeks to Classify Counties by COVID-19 Risk, Relax Social Distancing Restrictions

In a Thursday letter to U.S. Governors, President Donald Trump said his administration is working on new guidelines for the mitigation of coronavirus, including the potential loosening of social distancing restrictions and ranking U.S. counties by coronavirus community spread risk factor.

These new directives may be connected to Trump's projection of reopening businesses in the U.S. toward the beginning of April, a deadline some say would be too early.

"My Administration is working to publish new guidelines for State and local policymakers to use in making decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place," Trump's letter read.

"This is what we envision: Our expanded testing capabilities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation's public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus," the letter continued. "This will incorporate robust surveillance testing, which allows us to monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country. Under these data-driven criteria, we will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk."

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President Donald Trump said in a Thursday letter to U.S. governors that his administration may be revising its existing coronavirus guidelines. Drew Angerer/Getty

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Tuesday press conference that Trump's estimate of things returning to normal by April was "absolutely inconceivable."

"April will unquestionably be worse than March and right now my fear is May could be worse than April," de Blasio said. "That's the reality we're facing."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that coronavirus may hit its peak in early April, calling the rate of infection a "freight train coming across the country."

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said during a Thursday press conference that the stay at home order enacted in his state may be extended past its original two-week parameter.

"The reason is, we simply cannot allow this virus to explode," Inslee said. "It's crucial that we all maintain social distancing."

"It would not be sufficient to knock down [the rate of coronavirus infection] for two weeks and then have it come roaring back," Inslee added.

Newsweek reached out to the offices of both Inslee and de Blasio, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Both New York and Washington have become coronavirus hotspots, with New York figures totaling nearly one-third of all domestic cases in the U.S. Recent data indicates 37,738 total cases of coronavirus are centered in New York.

While Trump told Fox News on Tuesday that he "would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," he also told reporters on Tuesday that any decision on the date for reopening U.S. businesses would be "based on hard facts and data."

Trump said he picked the Easter holiday as a potential deadline because he "thought it was a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline. It's a great day."

Trump Plan Seeks to Classify Counties by COVID-19 Risk, Relax Social Distancing Restrictions | U.S.