Trump unveils long-awaited guidelines to reopen US

The president's guidelines, which call for a phased approach, come as New York and other states extended their shutdowns and a Midwest governors’ coalition was formed.
6:18 | 04/17/20

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Transcript for Trump unveils long-awaited guidelines to reopen US
Goold evening and it's great to have you with us here on a Thursday night. President trump just moments ago, saying it is time for the next front in this war, were his words. It is time to open up America again. Saying we have to do it, that Americans want to be open again. Adding, Americans can defeat any challenge that we will carry our nation forward. President trump offering new federal guidelines, allowing governors to take a phased opening, saying he has worked with the governors, Democrats and Republicans, that they have a good relationship. Dr. Deborah birx will spell out the guidelines shortly. Governors will be expected to show a downward trajectory of cases within a 14-day period. The president says this will be a gradual process, of course, he's certainly aware of the numbers. The death toll in the U.S. Now topping 32,000. Here in New York, governor Cuomo extending his stay at home order. A pause here in the state until at least may 15th now. Even with another 600 deaths here in New York, the hospitalization rate still dropping. The governor says he is very concerned a reopening of the state too soon would drive up the infection rate, saying increased testing right now is what's needed before we can get people back to work. New unemployment numbers out tonight. Another 5 million Americans filing for benefits. Now 22 million losing their jobs in the last month. Families in need in long lines also food banks. This line right here in Dallas just today. The president said moments ago some states will open sooner than others, saying they are not facing the same situations, saying that Americans will have to telework, Americans will have to keep a safe distance. So, how will this work? As we all try to navigate this road ahead. ABC's whit Johnson leading us off. Reporter: Tonight, president trump unveiling long-awaited guidelines to reopen America, but making it clear that governors will call the shots. We're opening up our country and we have to do that. America wants to be open and Americans want to be open. Reporter: The president's guidelines call for a phased approach. States would be able to move to phase one after they see a two-week decline in the number of people with covid symptoms and in the percentage of people testing positive for the virus. They would also need to implement a robust testing program for health care workers, including emergency antibody testing. Once a state can check those boxes, people would still be advised to maintain social distancing and avoid socializing in groups of more than ten. But businesses could look at ways to slowly return to work. If states are able to go two weeks without a rebound of covid cases, they can move to phase two, where you could see places like restaurants, movie theaters and bars reopening with social distancing procomes. One careful step at a time, and some states will be able to open up sooner than others, some states are not in the kind of trouble that others are in. Reporter: The guidelines come as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Extend their shutdowns until at least may 15th. What happens after then? I don't know. No political decisions, no emotional decisions. Data and science, we're talking about human lives here. Reporter: Here, the numbers are heading in the right direction, but slowly. The bad news is, 2,000 people walked into a hospital yesterday for the first time with the disease and the worst news is, 600 people died yesterday from the disease. Reporter: Doctors like Melanie ma Loy in a rerentless battle for weeks. I have a great babysitter that helps me a lot. But sometimes it's hard. Reporter: She stakes us inside the emergency department at mt. Sinai Brooklyn. Most of our bends are taken up by intube baited patients, who can't breathe on their own and are on a vent lay tour. Reporter: Dr. Malloy saying she's encouraged that fewer are coming in, but one of the most difficult parts of the job, treating her own colleagues who have fallen ill. So, I just needed to get out a little bit. Sometimes you just have to step out for a second. Reporter: New York banding together with six other states to plan for reopening. Out west, California, Oregon and Washington forging a similar alliance. And now a new coalition of seven mid western states including Ohio, where governor Mike dewine today announced a plan for some businesses to reopen on may 1st. We must get people back to work. Reporter: Governor dewine brandishing a mask his wife made for him. He was one of the first governors to act on the covid threat. Tonight, governors and health officials alike agree. The key to the future is testing and tracking the contacts of people who are infected to prevent further spread. Lake county health department. Reporter: Salt Lake City says its team has tracked 85% of the cases in the community. What date did you start to feel like you had some kind of Reporter: Massachusetts unveiling its own ambitious plans to hire 1,000 people for contact tracing. But some unwilling to wait. Protests erupting from Minnesota to Oklahoma to Michigan in defiance of social distancing guidelines. The sad irony here is that the protest was that they don't like being in this stay home order and they may have just created a need to lengthen it. There's going to be so many different calls across this country, as governors have to look at their own conditions in their own states. Whit Johnson back with us tonight, and whit, I wanted to get back to what the president said. He called it the next front in this war, opening up America again. And he called it a science-based reopening and made a point of saying some states will open sooner than ever. Reporter: And David, once again, president trump is focused on our borders. Saying, quote, we must be extra vigilant in blocking the fortunate entry of the virus, adding that border control, travel restrictions and other limitations are more important than ever. He also pointed to the data, saying that 30% of the counties in this country have reported no new cases of coronavirus in the last seven days. David? All right, whit Johnson leading us off on the news tonight from the president. Whit, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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