‘Painful’ 2 weeks ahead as White House projects 100,000+ deaths
Washington: The White House coronavirus task force on Tuesday pleaded with Americans to abide by the administration’s extended social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of coronavirus as a somber President Trump told Americans to brace for “a very painful two weeks” and warned of thousands of more virus-related deaths.
“The surge is coming, and it’s coming pretty strong,” the president said in the White House briefing room in a long press conference, reports Fox News.
The extension of the social distancing guidelines comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other public health officials on the White House coronavirus task force ominously warned that even if the U.S. were to continue to do what it was doing — keeping the economy closed and most Americans in their homes — the coronavirus could still leave 100,000 to 240,000 people in the United States dead and millions infected.
Without any measures in place to mitigate the contagion’s spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.
“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” Trump said during the briefing. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
The new “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines — unveiled at the press conference — are an extension of the strategy the White House implemented just over two weeks ago and include guidance on social distancing, working from home, washing hands frequently, and avoiding any unnecessary travel.
While Trump sought to reassure Americans that the country would ultimately get through the pandemic, he declined to sugarcoat the severity of the pandemic and said that the battle against the contagion will be worse in the upcoming weeks.
“This is going to be a rough two week period,” Trump said. “As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
The change in tone marks an abrupt shift by Trump, who spent much of last week targeting April 12 as the day he wanted to see the country open and “raring to go” by Easter Sunday.
Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that the modeling of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths is still very possible, but Fauci said the federal government is working “very hard to bring that number down.” Birx added that the number of deaths could be blunted through proper medical care and social distancing.
The models predictions have the surge in deaths going into the summer.