Donald Trump has warned America to brace for a “very, very painful two weeks” as the White House projected that the corona-virus pandemic could claim 100,000 to 240,000 lives, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.
Striking an unusually sombre tone at the start a marathon two-hour briefing, the US president defended his early handling of the crisis and displayed models that, he said, justified his decision to keep much of the economy shut down.
“It’s absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines for the next 30 days. It’s a matter of life and death,” Trump said.
White House corona-virus coordinator Deborah Birx displayed charts demonstrating data and modelling that showed an enormous jump in deaths to a range of 100,000 to 240,000 people from the virus in the coming months.
She displayed a chart in which New York had by far the most cumulative cases, followed by New Jersey, then the other 48 states bunched together. Birx expressed hope that social distancing could prevent major outbreaks in those states.
Early mitigation slowing the spread of disease in California and Washington state “gives us great hope”, she added. “It’s communities that will do this. There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviour.”
Asked if Americans be prepared for the likelihood that there would be 100,000 Americans who die from this virus, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “The answer is yes. As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.
“Is it going to be that much? I hope not, and I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it will be that number … We are really convinced mitigation is going to be doing the trick for us.”
President Trump added: “We’re going to continue to see things go up. We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working … Now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator and on the brake, but to just press it down on the accelerator. And that’s what I hope and I know that we can do over the next 30 days.”
And trying to put his own efforts in a positive light, he noted that without his mitigation guidelines, models show the death toll could have reached 2.2m. “You would have had people dying all over the place.
“You would have seen people dying in airplanes, you would have seen people dying in hotel lobbies. How many people have even seen anybody die? You would have seen death all over.”
The president added: “One hundred thousand is, according to modeling, a very low number.” But he also described the figure as “very sobering”.
While the global figures of this deadly corona-virus has breached 1 Million Mark !