President Donald Trump announced Thursday that his administration will roll out social distancing guidelines for state and local governments by categorizing counties according to their level of risk amid the coronavirus pandemic, in order to assist officials "in making decision about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures."
What are the details?
In a letter to the nation's governors, the president wrote, "As we enhance protections against the virus, Americans across the country are hoping the day will soon arrive when they can resume their normal economic, social, and religious lives."
"If furtherance of this shared goal," President Trump continued, "my Administration is working to publish new guidelines for State and local policymakers to use in making decision about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place."
The president explained that this initiative can be achieved through the increased COVID-19 testing across the nation, providing data allowing the federal government to classify counties "with respect to continued risks posed by the virus" as the spread of the disease is monitored.
"Under these data-driven criteria," the president added, "we will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk."
During a conference call with governors on Thursday, the president "stressed the need to reopen businesses and to recognize regional differences in the virus' impact," the Washington Post reported.
According to audio of the call obtained by the Associated Press, President Trump told state leaders, "We all have to get smart. We have to open our country, I'm sorry."