President Trump says new guidelines on reopening certain states to be released Thursday

(AP) - President Donald Trump says data indicates the U.S. is “past the peak” of the COVID-19 epidemic, clearing the way for his plans to roll out guidelines to begin to “reopen” the country.
Speaking during his daily press briefing, President Trump called the latest data “encouraging,” saying they have “put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country.” President Trump said those guidelines will be unveiled Thursday at the White House.
The guidelines are expected to clear the way for an easing of social distancing guidelines in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit places. The ultimate decisions will remain with governors.
President Trump is also threatening to use what he says is his constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress to clear the way for recess appointments to his administration.
PHOTOS: Heroes on the front lines against COVID-19

He said lawmakers have made it difficult to run the federal government, saying “every week, they put up roadblocks.” He says that the current practice of conducting “phony, pro-forma” sessions of Congress so that he can’t make recess appointments is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during the coronavirus crisis.

He complains that some of his nominees have waited years for approval, though previous presidents have leveled similar complaints.
Updates from the White House Coronavirus Task Force
  • "It's clear our aggressive strategy is working." President Trump says "data suggests we have passed the peak of new" COVID-19 cases.
  • Trump says he will announce new guidelines for "various states" at news conference on Thursday.
  • "The FDA is working with 300 companies and labs to widen our [testing] capacity."
  • President Trump says Abbott Labs has announced it has a test that can determine if somebody previously had the coronavirus and potentially has an immunity.
  • President Trump says GM announced that its first ventilators will soon be coming off the assembly line. GM will ship more than 600 ventilators this month.
  • President Trump says Democrats are obstructing nomination for key federal positions. Positions, he says, that are key to addressing the COVID-19 epidemic.
  • Trump threatens to use "constitutional authority" to fill empty roles in his administration.
  • President Trump again berates World Health Organization over COVID-19 decisions.  
  • President Trump says the Paycheck Protection Program has saved "millions of jobs" so far. He says phase 2 of the program will provide $250 billion to workers and small businesses.
  • President Trump says he will lead a phone call tomorrow with elected officials who will consult with his administration "as we work to restore our economy to full speed."
  • President Trump says some states will "open up" before the May 1 deadline. He says it will be exciting to see.
  • The president says he spoke with top leaders in health care, transportation, technology, financial services and other institutions. "These experts and innovators provided extremely productive feedback on how to safely reboot our economy."
  • Dr. Deborah Birx - "Over the last 5 or 6 days, we have seen declines in cases across the country. It's been very reassuring to us." 
  • Dr. Birx says 9 states have less then 1,000 cases and less than 30 new cases per day. 
  • VP Pence urges all coronavirus survivors to donate plasma that could help treatment of COVID-19.
  • VP Pence says 24% of counties in the U.S. have no reported coronavirus cases.