WASHINGTON -- While President Donald Trump has not given a specific date calling for an "opening up" of the country, the focus of the economic task force being set up by the White House is to find ways to have large sections of the U.S. open by May 1, administration officials have told ABC News.
The president has continued to predict the country will quickly return to normal and bounce back like never before, but he has limited say in when and how that could begin. Many governors have instituted stay-at-home orders and other lockdowns until at least June.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top expert on infectious diseases, spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper about when part of the country could reopen.
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"I think it could probably start, at least in some ways, maybe next month," said Fauci. "It's so difficult to make those kinds of predictions because they always get thrown back at you if it doesn't happen, not by you, but you know, by any number of people. We are hoping that at the end of the month, we could look around and say, 'Okay, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on? If so, do it, if not, then just continue to hunker down.'"
While many countries around the world and cities in the U.S. are pointing toward positive signs that social distancing might be finally flattening the curve, the novel coronavirus death toll continues to be staggering.
In the U.S., more than 529,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. At least 20,602 people in the U.S. have died, the highest out of any country.
--ABC News contributed to this report.
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