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Donald Trump tells US to brace for ‘rough’ weeks ahead as he says social distancing ‘matter of life and death’



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Donald Trump has branded the US’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus as a “matter of life and death” as he told the public to brace for a “rough” two weeks.

The US President predicted the country would soon see a “light at the end of the tunnel” of the pandemic that has killed more than 3,500 Americans and infected 170,000 more.

Mr Trump urged the public to heed his administration’s social distancing guidelines as the White House projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in measures are maintained.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday, he said: “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead… We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”

The World on Coronavirus lockdown

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Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

Getty Images

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A usually busy 42nd Street is seen nearly empty in New York

AFP via Getty Images

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Aerial view of the empty 9 de Julio avenue in Buenos Aires in Argentina

AFP via Getty Images

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Bondi Beach, Australia

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Rome

AFP via Getty Images

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Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain

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Aerial view of the empty Central cemetery in Bogota, Columbia

AFP via Getty Images

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Miami, Florida

AFP via Getty Images

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The facade of the Palacio de Lopez (seat of the government palace)

AFP via Getty Images

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Aerial view of the empty Simon Bolivar park in Bogota,

AFP via Getty Images

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An LAPD patrol car drives through Venice Beach Boardwalk

AP

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Venice Beach, California

Getty Images

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Los Angeles, California

Getty Images

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Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

Getty Images

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Many shops stand shuttered on the Venice Beach boardwalk

Getty Images

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Empty escalators are seen at a deserted train station during morning rush hour after New South Wales began shutting down non-essential businesses

REUTERS

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A nearly empty Times Square in New York

AFP via Getty Images

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Caracas

AFP via Getty Images

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Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador

AFP via Getty Images

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A general view of an unusually quiet Midland Park in Wellington, New Zealand

Getty Images

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A general view of an unusually quiet Civic Square at lunchtimein Wellington, New Zealand

Getty Images

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A policeman rides his motorcycle wearing a face mask in front of a closed shopping mall in Buenos Aires, Argentina

AFP via Getty Images

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Florida Keys

AP

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The historic Channel 2 Bridge closed to fishermen, bikers and pedestrians in Florida Keys

AP

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The Beach on Scenic Gulf Drive near Seascape Resort in south Walton County, Florida sits empty of tourists

AP

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Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

Getty Images

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A deserted Rajpath leading to India Gate in New Delhi

AFP via Getty Images

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A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

Getty Images

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A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

Getty Images

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Empty roads are pictured following the lockdown by the government amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kathmandu, Nepal

REUTERS

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An empty New York Subway car i

AFP via Getty Images

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The empty pedestrian zone is seen in the city of Cologne, western Germany,

AFP via Getty Images

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Place de la Comedie in the city of Montpellier , southern France

AFP via Getty Images

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An empty street in Kuwait city

AFP via Getty Images

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A building is covered by the Portuguese message: “Coronavirus: take precaution” over empty streets in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil,

AP

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A general view shows an empty street after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

REUTERS

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Parliament of Canada is pictured with empty street during morning rush hour

AFP via Getty Images

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A near empty beach on Southend seafront in England

PA

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Near empty Keswick town centre in Cumbria, England

PA

1/39

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

Getty Images

2/39

A usually busy 42nd Street is seen nearly empty in New York

AFP via Getty Images

3/39

Aerial view of the empty 9 de Julio avenue in Buenos Aires in Argentina

AFP via Getty Images

4/39

Bondi Beach, Australia

Getty Images

5/39

Rome

AFP via Getty Images

6/39

Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain

Getty Images

7/39

Aerial view of the empty Central cemetery in Bogota, Columbia

AFP via Getty Images

8/39

Miami, Florida

AFP via Getty Images

9/39

The facade of the Palacio de Lopez (seat of the government palace)

AFP via Getty Images

10/39

Aerial view of the empty Simon Bolivar park in Bogota,

AFP via Getty Images

11/39

An LAPD patrol car drives through Venice Beach Boardwalk

AP

12/39

Venice Beach, California

Getty Images

13/39

Los Angeles, California

Getty Images

14/39

Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

Getty Images

15/39

Many shops stand shuttered on the Venice Beach boardwalk

Getty Images

16/39

Empty escalators are seen at a deserted train station during morning rush hour after New South Wales began shutting down non-essential businesses

REUTERS

17/39

A nearly empty Times Square in New York

AFP via Getty Images

18/39

Caracas

AFP via Getty Images

19/39

Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador

AFP via Getty Images

20/39

A general view of an unusually quiet Midland Park in Wellington, New Zealand

Getty Images

21/39

A general view of an unusually quiet Civic Square at lunchtimein Wellington, New Zealand

Getty Images

22/39

A policeman rides his motorcycle wearing a face mask in front of a closed shopping mall in Buenos Aires, Argentina

AFP via Getty Images

23/39

Florida Keys

AP

24/39

The historic Channel 2 Bridge closed to fishermen, bikers and pedestrians in Florida Keys

AP

25/39

The Beach on Scenic Gulf Drive near Seascape Resort in south Walton County, Florida sits empty of tourists

AP

26/39

Surfers Paradise is seen empty in Australia

Getty Images

27/39

A deserted Rajpath leading to India Gate in New Delhi

AFP via Getty Images

28/39

A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

Getty Images

29/39

A general view is seen of a closed Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

Getty Images

30/39

Empty roads are pictured following the lockdown by the government amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kathmandu, Nepal

REUTERS

31/39

An empty New York Subway car i

AFP via Getty Images

32/39

The empty pedestrian zone is seen in the city of Cologne, western Germany,

AFP via Getty Images

33/39

Place de la Comedie in the city of Montpellier , southern France

AFP via Getty Images

34/39

An empty street in Kuwait city

AFP via Getty Images

35/39

A building is covered by the Portuguese message: “Coronavirus: take precaution” over empty streets in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil,

AP

36/39

A general view shows an empty street after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

REUTERS

37/39

Parliament of Canada is pictured with empty street during morning rush hour

AFP via Getty Images

38/39

A near empty beach on Southend seafront in England

PA

39/39

Near empty Keswick town centre in Cumbria, England

PA

It comes after Mr Trump announced on Sunday that he was extending to April 30 the social distancing guidelines that urged Americans to cease social gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and more in a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the virus.

This was an abrupt reversal for Mr Trump, who spent much of last week targeting April 12 as the day he wanted to see Americans “pack the pews” for Easter Sunday services.

Many states and local governments already have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

Mr Trump spoke after another troubling day for the stock market, which has been in a free fall as the coronavirus ground the economy to a near-halt and left millions unemployed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points, or roughly 1.9 per cent, to seal the worst first-quarter finish of its 135-year history.

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Donald Trump

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United States

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Coronavirus

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covid-19

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