Coronavirus: Trump extends social distancing guidelines, Joe Diffie dies, and how to care for someone with COVID-19

President Donald Trump acknowledged the virus could kill 100,000 Americans, but said he expects "great things" for the U.S. by June 1.
Image: A Samaritan's Purse crew works on building an emergency field hospital equipped with a respiratory unit in New York's Central Park across from the Mount Sinai Hospital
An emergency field hospital is being built in New York City's Central Park across the street from Mount Sinai Hospital on Sunday.Mary Altaffer / AP

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The White House issued new social distancing guidelines as the number of coronavirus cases in the country continues to surge.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.


Trump extends social distancing to end of April

President Donald Trump announced Sunday that he was extending social distancing guidelines in the United States until April 30.

It was a change of course for the president who just last week said he was hoping to have the country "opened up and raring to go by Easter."

Trump's announcement came on the heels of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying the coronavirus could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans while infecting "millions" of others.

Trump said his administration was extending the guidelines with the hope of avoiding a catastrophic death toll.

"So if we can hold that down, as we're saying, to 100,000, it's a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job," Trump said during a coronavirus task force briefing Sunday. (Video)

Nearly three-quarters of a million people have been infected with the virus across the globe, according to official testing data. The U.S. is now the epicenter of the pandemic with more than 140,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 2,500 deaths as of early Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here are some other developments:


It's Trump's coronavirus response now, to his political profit or peril

For Trump, the spring of 2020 was supposed to be a time for trumpeting the economy, scaring voters about a Joe Biden presidency and trying to get some foreign policy wins, NBC News' White House Correspondent Shannon Pettypiece writes.

But with the world consumed by the threat of the coronavirus, the president has increasingly been focused on using to his advantage the crisis that he initially tried to downplay.

He's branded the federal response as his own, with his campaign echoing his moves — a high-risk, high-reward proposition, Republican strategists say.

Meantime, some U.S. governors have really stepped up during the coronavirus crisis, several experts on leadership told NBC News' Corky Siemaszko. While others, notably a number of Southern state leaders, have ducked for cover, they said.


Medical workers in Spain and Italy 'overloaded' as more of them catch coronavirus

Doctors, nurses and other medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus epidemic in Italy and Spain are succumbing to the respiratory illness themselves in ever increasing numbers, leading many to complain about inadequate protective equipment and other supplies.

"We were already overloaded before this crisis, and now you have to add the emotional overload," Alda Recas, president of Madrid's Association of Independent Nurses, told NBC News.

"We haven’t seen a situation like this one in all of our lives and careers."


We can do this: Tips for making it through

These are trying times for everyone. Here are some ideas for how to take care of others, and yourself, during these challenging times.


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Plus


THINK about it

Trump loyalists like Jerry Falwell are fueling a dangerously politicized pandemic, Charles Sykes, editor-at-large of the Bulwark and an MSNBC contributor, writes in an opinion piece.


One kind thing

It all started when newspaper delivery man Greg Dailey was grocery shopping, when he realized some of his elderly customers might need help.

Now he puts a note inside every paper offering to pick up essentials.

Greg is just one example of how Americans are looking out for their neighbors during these difficult times. See the uplifting video below.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

The days of the week have all started to blend together, but I hope you got some rest over the weekend.

Please send me any comments you have on the newsletter or our coverage of coronavirus: petra@nbcuni.com

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill