Coronavirus cases are expected to peak in mid-April in many parts of the country, but quickly reopening businesses or loosening shelter-in-place rules would inevitably lead to a new surge of infections, they said.

Meanwhile, other parts of the country are only now implementing restrictions and others have not yet ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, creating a patchwork response that will slow progress toward the goal of driving down transmission of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

“The administration has consistently shown a desire to underplay the severity of whatever is coming. And they’re constantly adjusting that — as it becomes harder to deny the reality will be worse than what they’ve conditioned people for,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Konyndyk said he and other experts he’s discussed the matter with believe an “intensive period of social distancing and a national semi-voluntary lockdown” will last for months.