Trump says US is ‘past the peak’ of coronavirus epidemic; reopening plans to be announced Thursday

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Rose Garden at the White House April 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Treasury Department has ordered the IRS to put Trump’s signature on the stimulus checks that are being sent to all Americans in response to the nation’s shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says data indicates the U.S. is “past the peak” of the COVID-19 epidemic, clearing the way for his plans to roll out guidelines to begin to “reopen” the country.

Speaking during his daily press briefing, Trump called the latest data “encouraging,” saying they have “put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country.”

Trump said those guidelines will be unveiled Thursday at the White House.

The guidelines are expected to clear the way for an easing of social distancing guidelines in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit places. The ultimate decisions will remain with governors.

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