In a lengthy press conference on Tuesday, President Trump warned the American people that the next two weeks will be “really rough”.
The president and his team met with reporters in the White House briefing room to update the country on the status of the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak.
The president revealed that the latest projections indicate a surge in coronavirus-related deaths is imminent. “This is going to be a rough two week period,” Trump told reporters, “As a nation, we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
Roughly 700 more coronavirus patients died on Tuesday to put the official tally at 4,070; surpassing China’s reported count of 3,310 deaths. Many health experts doubt the accuracy of self-reported Chinese data but, nevertheless, the rapid growth of the U.S. outbreak is concerning.
White House predicts 100,000 to 240,000 will die in US from coronavirus
President Donald Trump prepared Americans for a surge in coronavirus cases, saying the U.S. is facing a "very, very painful two weeks."https://t.co/Gs8sTOwf7y
— Dennis (@Morgan4xx) March 31, 2020
The U.S. now ranks third globally for the highest number of coronavirus deaths, trailing only Spain and Italy. So far, the Italians have reported 12,428 deaths and Spain has 9,053.
New York is currently at the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. The Empire State has over 76,00 confirmed cases and more than 1,700 deaths. Over half of those cases and deaths have occurred in New York City.
As bad as it’s been, the president warned Americans that infections could accelerate over the next few weeks. “The surge is coming, and it’s coming pretty strong,” said Trump. The latest projections from White House officials estimate that the coronavirus death toll could range between 1.5 million and 2.2 million death.
However, that shockingly high figure assumes that no steps are taken to mitigate the spread of the virus, and that’s obviously not the case. Social distancing, shelter in place orders, and other restrictions have all been imposed to help contain the outbreak and, if Americans diligently adhere to these guidelines, the White House believes that the number of U.S. deaths can be limited to 100,000 to 240,000 people.
While that figure is nothing to celebrate, it’s a substantial improvement from the worst-case scenario. President Trump urged Americans to respect federal recommendations in order to combat the virus. “It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” Trump stressed, “It’s a matter of life and death.”
Even with restrictions in place, things are destined to get a lot worse before they get better. The president repeatedly emphasized the likelihood that the country will face significant adversity over the coming weeks. “This could be a hell of a bad two weeks,” Trump warned, “This is going to be a very bad two – or maybe even three – weeks. This is going to be three weeks like we’ve never seen before.”
The press conference included statements from some of the Trump administration’s top health officials, including the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborag Birx. Both warned Americans to be cautious and emphasized the importance of federally-imposed restrictions.
Fauci stressed that the administration is doing everything in its power to curb the spread of the disease, assuring the assembly of reporters that the government is working “very hard to bring that number down.”
The death toll from #COVID19 in the United States has exceeded 4,079, according to Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. President Donald Trump warns of "very painful two weeks" ahead https://t.co/0AnHynxjEI pic.twitter.com/AYfwTS5Ba3
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) April 1, 2020
However, he cautioned that even their best efforts could only do so much. “As sobering a number as that [100,00 to 240,000] is, we should be prepared for that,” Fauci said. “No one is denying that we are going through a very difficult time right now.”
Birx also emphasized that the public needs to adhere to federal guidelines in order to flatten the curve. She urged Americans to change their behaviors in order to stem the flow of disease. “There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” she said.
In most cases, COVID-19 causes only mild, flu-like symptoms, but Americans must take the threat seriously in order to protect at-risk segments of the population and limit the pandemic’s economic impact.
The future of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak rests squarely on the shoulders of the American people, and we all have to do our part in order to protect our country and our neighbors.