Trump says gatherings should be limited to 10 to help stop spread of COVID-19

Posted at 2:05 PM, Mar 16, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration’s coronavirus task force has announced strict new guidelines in an effort to restrict the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration is recommending the following:

– Schooling from home, if possible

– Avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people

– Avoiding discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits

– And, avoiding bars, restaurants and food courts

The White House is also recommending that older people and those with underlying health conditions “stay home and away from other people” as it continues to step up efforts to halt the pandemic.

These guidelines are part of a campaign that the administration is calling, “15 days to slow the spread.”

Specifically, the task force pleaded for millennials, America’s largest generation, to limit their interactions with others.

“They are the core group that will stop this virus,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the task force. “They are the group that communicates successfully, independent of picking up a phone.”

Dr. Birx said millennials intuitively know how to contact each other without being in large social gatherings.

“We’re asking all of them to hold their gatherings under 10 people. Not just in bars and restaurants, but in homes,” said Dr. Birx. “We really want people to be separated at this time.

Because we don’t have a vaccine or a therapy to address the virus, Dr. Birx says the only thing we have at our disposal is the ingenuity and compassion of the American people.

“We’re appealing to all Americans to take these steps, to protect each other,” said Dr. Birx.

The White House is also advising governors in states with evidence of community transmission to close schools and says that states with evidence of community spread should close restaurants, bars, gyms, and other venues where people gather.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says these guidelines will be in effect for about the next 15 days. Clarifying an earlier comment from Trump, Dr. Fauci said the virus could be present in the U.S. in a major way through July or August.

Additionally, the administration is alleging that a foreign disinformation campaign is underway aiming to stoke fear amid the coronavirus pandemic. Three U.S. officials said Monday that federal officials began confronting what they said was a deliberate effort by a foreign entity to sow fear of a nationwide quarantine.

The three U.S. officials did not name the foreign entity they believe to be responsible. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

Also on Monday, national security officials said there had been a “cyber incident” involving the computer networks of the Department of Health and Human Services, but the networks were operating normally.

Watch the coronavirus task force provide an update on its response to the virus:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.