Donald Trump Will Remain at the White House This Month to Follow Social Distancing Guidelines

"I've cancelled many different events, and we'll be staying here, for the most part," Trump told reporters on Tuesday

Donald Trump
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump will practice social distancing at the White House for the foreseeable future, following his own social distancing guidelines that were extended on Sunday.

During the daily White House press briefing on Tuesday, Trump shared that he will “be in the White House” for the next month to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and to remain healthy himself.

While Trump, 73, admitted that he would “love to go out,” he doesn’t see himself traveling in April.

“I doubt I’ll leave,” he told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he had wanted to attend the arrival of hospital ship USNS Comfort in New York Harbor on Monday, but was advised against it.

“I wanted to go to the opening of the — of the hospital in New York,” Trump said. “And my people couldn’t even believe it, that I said it. But I did. I wanted to go. They didn’t want me to do it. The Secret Service didn’t want me to do it for — you know, for reasons. I wanted to go to the boat sailing into New York Harbor, but the governor did a good job of that, and the mayor of New York.”

New York is currently the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, with at least 83,887 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,940 deaths related to the illness.

“So, you know, I’d love to go out. But, no, I’ll be in the White House,” Trump said. “And it’s sort of like nerve center, control center.”

Trump added that he thinks “it’s important” that he remains healthy as president, pointing out that other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have tested positive for the virus.

“I think it’s important that I remain healthy. I really do. So, for the most part, we’re staying here. I’ve canceled many different events, and we’ll be staying here, for the most part,” he added.

Although Trump has expressed a desire to lift the social distancing recommendations currently in place by Easter, which is on April 12, he extended those recommendations on Sunday to remain in place until April 30.

“During this period, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines. Have to follow the guidelines,” Trump told reporters from the White House Rose Garden, per the New York Times. “Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread.”

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He added that “we can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery. We think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening.”

Of his previous comment about returning to business as usual by Easter, Trump told reporters “it was just an aspiration.”

The current guidelines encourage Americans to work and school from home, avoid gathering in groups of 10 people or more, avoid discretionary travel, and avoid visiting elderly relatives in retirement homes or other care facilities, except to provide “critical assistance.”

It is also recommended to only use take-out, delivery or drive-thru options at restaurants, avoid discretionary travel and social visits, and to maintain good hygiene by frequently washing hands and cleaning frequently used items and areas regularly.

Many states have issued their own stay-at-home orders with even stricter guidelines.

Also during Tuesday’s press briefing, Trump insisted that he did not downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 in the early days of the virus’ presence in the U.S.

“I’m not about bad news. I want to give people hope. I want to give people a feeling that we all have a chance,” Trump said after a reporter asked if he had changed his attitude toward the virus, taking it more seriously.

Trump was criticized for his initial response to the virus. He claimed in February that his opponents were trying to politicize the virus as a “hoax” to damage him.

“I think, from the beginning, my attitude was that we have to give this country — I know how bad it was,” he said Tuesday.

“I want to give people a feeling of hope. I could be very negative. I could say, ‘Wait a minute, those numbers are terrible. This is going to be horrible,’ ” he said. “This is a horrible thing.”

Last week, the U.S. became the country with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and health officials say that things will only get worse before they get better.

“This is really easy to be negative about,” Trump said. “But I want to give people hope too. You know, I’m a cheerleader for the country. We’re going through the worst thing that the country has probably ever seen.”

Nationwide, there are at least 206,233 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,576 deaths.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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