5:30 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everyone. Our country is in the midst of a great national trial, unlike any we have ever faced before. You all see it. You see it probably better than most.
We’re at war with a deadly virus. Success in this fight will require the full, absolute measure of our collective strength, love, and devotion. Very important.
Each of us has the power, through our own choices and actions, to save American lives and rescue the most vulnerable among us.
That’s why we really have to do what we all know is right. Every citizen is being called upon to make sacrifices. Every business is being asked to fulfill its patriotic duty. Every community is making fundamental changes to how we live, work, and interact each and every day.
And I wouldn’t be surprised to see this going on long into the future, when this virus is gone and defeated. Some of the things we’re doing now will be very good practice for the future, including for not getting the flu, which is very devastating also. So some of what we’re learning now will live on into the future — I really believe that: shaking hands or not shaking hands; washing hands all the time; staying a little apart.
Fifteen days ago, we published our nationwide guidelines to slow the spread of the virus. On Sunday, I announced that this campaign will be extended until April 30th.
In a few moments, Dr. Birx will explain the data that formed the basis for our decision to extend the guidelines, and Dr. Fauci will explain why it’s absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines for the next 30 days. It’s a matter of life and death, frankly. It’s a matter of life and death.
I know our citizens will rise to the occasion, and they already have sacrificed a lot. We had the greatest economy in the history of our country. We had the greatest economy in the world. We had the best unemployment numbers and employment numbers that we’ve ever had, by far. And in one instant, we said we have no choice but to close it up. Just as Americans have always done, they will do a job like few have seen before. And they’re proud to do it, and I see that. There’s a great pride going on right now.