Speaking outside the White House on Sunday evening, Trump said that the federal guidelines for social distancing urging Americans to remain in their homes -- originally set to be in place until Tuesday -- would be extended to the end of next month as cases of the virus in the United States have risen higher than any other country.
"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," Trump said. "That would be the greatest loss of all. Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread."
The decision comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid non-essential travel at Trump's direction and as 215 million Americans throughout the country have been placed under some sort of stay at home or shelter in place restrictions as of Saturday.
West Virginia's Department of Health on Sunday recorded its first death linked to COVID-19, making Hawaii and Wyoming the last two U.S. states with zero reported fatalities associated with the virus.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci earlier in the day told CNN officials "don't really have any firm idea" about how many cases the country will eventually have but estimated there could be as many as 200,000 deaths and "millions of cases."
"The number I gave out is based on modeling and I think it's entirely conceivable that if we do not mitigate to the extent that we're trying to do that we could reach that number," Fauci said during Sunday evening's briefing. "So what we're trying to do is not let that happen so instead of concentrating on the upper and the lower we're trying to push it all the way down."
Fauci added that officials believe that the federal guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus have had "an effect," however that effect is difficult to quantify.
"The decision to extend this mitigation process until the end of April I think was a wise and prudent decision," he said.
"The idea that we may have this many cases played a role in our decision in trying to make sure that we don't do something prematurely and pull back when we should be pushing."
Trump on Sunday approved four more disaster declarations for the District of Columbia, Georgia, Oregon and Connecticut after approving those for Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan and Guam on Saturday. The president has approved more than 20 declarations due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced the country's first inmate to die of the virus -- a 49-year-old man with pre-existing conditions. The bureau said Patrick Jones died Saturday in Louisiana where he was being held on a 324-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute 425 grams of crack cocaine.