'I don't want people to get used to this': Trump says US will not extend coronavirus social distancing guidelines

President Donald Trump speaks about reopening the country, during a roundtable with industry executives, in the State Dinning Room of the Wh Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

Donald Trump said the US government will not extend its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire on Thursday, adding: "I don’t want people to get used to this."

The US president said he plans to resume official travel next week and hopes to hold mass rallies in the coming months with thousands of supporters.

The president laid out a vision of a return to pre-coronavirus normality — “with or without” a vaccine — with packed restaurants and filled stadiums.

New York has been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: AP

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.

“I don’t want people to get used to this,” Mr Trump told reporters. “I see the new normal being what it was three months ago.”

The White House has been trying to move towards its next phase of its coronavirus handling, focusing on trying to reopen the US economy.

However there are concerns that reopening some states too soon without sufficient testing and contact tracing could see a resurgence of the disease.

President Donald Trump meets with Gov. John Bel Edwards about the coronavirus response in the Oval Office Credit: AP

To underscore his confidence, the president announced that he plans to resume out-of-state travel after spending more than a month mostly cooped up in the White House.

He said he is planning a trip to Arizona next week, followed by a possible trip to Ohio, even as much of the country remains under effective lockdown with all but essential travel banned.

“We’re going to start to move around and hopefully in the not too distant future, we’ll have some massive rallies and people will be sitting next to each other,” he said, adding that having people spaced out in accordance with social distancing guidelines “wouldn’t look too good”.

Mr Trump said the timing would depend, in part, on the states, since some have had far fewer cases than others.

The announcement came after the president said he will not be extending the White House’s “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines when they expire on Thursday.

Global coronavirus cases and deaths. 

“They’ll be fading out because now the governors are doing it,” Mr Trump told reporters.

Those guidelines — which were originally supposed to last 15 days and were then extended an additional 30 — encouraged Americans to work from home and avoid restaurants, group gatherings and discretionary travel and advised older Americans and those with serious underlying health conditions to isolate themselves.

  • New drug trial gives coronavirus patients hope

The White House on Wednesday was also pointing to the prospect of an experimental drug, Remdesivir, which proved effective against the virus in a major new study.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said the drug reduced the time it takes patients to recover by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those just given usual care.

“It’s highly significant,” Dr Fauci said.

“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know