President Trump on Tuesday warned the American people will be facing a “very rough two weeks” as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in every parts of the United States.
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said at the daily coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks, and then hopefully … we’re going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel. But this is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks.”
“As a nation, we face a difficult few weeks as we approach that really important day when we’re going to see things get better all of a sudden,” the president continued. “Our strength will be tested, and our endurance will be tried, but America will answer with love and courage and ironclad resolve.”
The President along with his Coronavirus Task Force officials laid out the data that showed between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the novel coronavirus even as the country continues to practice stringent social distancing guidelines that were put in place. According to the health doctors, without any measures to mitigate the disease’s spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.
Trump announced on Sunday that he would extend nationwide social distancing guidelines until April 30. The data released on Tuesday contributed heavily to the president’s decision to hold off on relaxing the guidelines in certain parts of the country that aren’t considered hotspots to help revive the U.S. economy. The White House first issued the social distancing guidelines 15 days ago.
Health officials cited the data to extend federal social distancing guidelines through the end of April, urging Americans to stay at home whenever possible and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
“It’s a matter of life and death, frankly,” Trump said somberly. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
Such restrictions have dampened the economy, but Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the key member of the White House coronavirus task force said now is not the time to take the foot off the accelerator by telling people to return to their daily lives.
“This is tough. People are suffering. People are dying. It’s inconvenient from a societal standpoint, from an economic standpoint to go through this, but this is going to be the answer to our problems,” Fauci said. “Let’s all pull together and make sure as we look forward to the next 30 days, we do it with all the intensity and force that we can.”
Fauci said the administration’s goal over the next 30 days is to help New York and New Jersey “get through” their outbreaks while preventing outbreaks in other states and metro areas by strictly adhering to social distancing recommendations.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force response coordinator explained the data and urged the public to steel for difficult weeks ahead while expressing hope that the efforts would reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
“There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” Birx said, adding that those behaviors could change “the course of the viral pandemic.”
Birx said the model were produced by Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington that assumes full mitigation efforts are in place and is updated daily and nightly based on the conditions on the ground.
Both Birx and Fauci stressed that the total number of deaths is not certain to hit 100,000 if Americans strictly follow recommendations on social distancing.
“We really believe and hope every day that we can do a lot better than that,” Birx said.
Birx displayed a slide showing the cumulative cases in California and Washington state and how strong mitigation techniques such as shelter-in-place orders kept cases from rising significantly. She compared California and Washington to the steep rise in cases in the New York metro area, which has become the epicenter of the virus. At the same time, she warned of worrying signs in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans and Massachusetts.
As of Tuesday evening, there are at least 181,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., including 3,606 deaths. The U.S. now has more confirmed cases than any other country, with outbreaks rapidly growing in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Michigan, Florida and other states.