The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends communities be evaluated for four consecutive weeks and demonstrate three achievements before starting to return to normal life, according to a senior federal health official who has seen the guidelines submitted to the White House coronavirus task force.
Those recommendations require communities demonstrate a decrease in cases and deaths; a decrease in Covid-19-associated hospitalizations while keeping the capacity to care for the sick; and the public health capacity to investigate and control the virus.
It's unclear if the White House task force has approved those recommendations or when the measuring of those benchmarks would begin. But they appear to be in line with Trump's announcement this week to extend federal social distancing measures for 30 days.
CNN has reached out to the CDC about the recommendations multiple times but has not received a response.
Additionally, other guidelines submitted to the task force by public health experts include "no new cases for 14 days" and "the ability to detect new clusters" for certain parts of community life to resume, according to the source.
Virus can be spread through breathing, experts say
New federal guidelines are also expected soon on wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the virus, Trump said Thursday, adding that the guidance won't require all Americans to use face coverings.
"I don't think they'll be mandatory because some people don't want to do that," he said, adding that Americans who do want to wear face coverings can "decide for themselves."
Trump's announcement came a day after a panel of experts told the White House that research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes and coughs but also by talking and possibly breathing.
"While the current (coronavirus) specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing," according to a letter written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences.
Masks should not, however, replace social distancing, Fauci said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" Friday morning.
"The most important thing is to keep this 6-foot physical distance from individuals," he said, adding he recognizes there are scenarios in which that's not possible.
"Because of some recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak as opposed to coughing and sneezing, the better part of valor is that when you're out and you can't maintain that 6-foot distance to wear some sort of facial covering," Fauci said.
"So, this is an addendum and an addition to the physical separation," he added, "not a substitute for it."