The White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from coronavirus if “full mitigation” measures are taken, Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Deborah Birx said during a briefing Tuesday. Not all states have implemented such measures. Without extreme social distancing, deaths could be much higher, the White House projects.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, said the country needs to be prepared for that many deaths, and deaths will “lag,” with the number of cases expected to peak over the next two weeks.
“As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” Fauci said. However, he also said that the numbers could also be lower.
“We’re doing everything we can to get it even significantly below that,” Fauci said when asked about the models. And as the administration gathers more data, the models can also change, too, Fauci and Birx said.
The president has extended recommendations on how to slow the spread of the virus to April 30. The next two weeks, Mr. Trump said, will be a “very, very painful” two weeks.
“This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is gonna be a very bad two — or maybe even three — weeks,” the president said. “This is going to be three weeks like we haven’t seen before.”
A growing number of governors are issuing orders demanding their residents remain in their homes as the death toll from the coronavirus in the country surpassed 3,000 overnight, but President Trump said such a move nationwide is doubtful. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious diseases expert, said the number of cases will continue to climb next week.
On Monday, leaders of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia issued stay-at-home orders, with Virginia’s set to last until June 10, the latest of any state so far. The president acknowledged a nationwide order has been discussed within the White House, given the likelihood of more outbreaks in major cities, butthe extreme measure was “pretty unlikely.”
But not all states have stay-at-home orders. Florida reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, but still has no stay-at-home order. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would take into great consideration any recommendation from the Coronavirus Task Force to issue such an order, but none has been issued.
More than 164,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Trump announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is setting up field hospitals, including a 250-bed hospital in Michigan and field hospitals in Louisiana that will amount to 500 beds.
With no indication of when life in the U.S. will begin to return to normal, House Democrats started drafting a fourth coronavirus relief package that would focus on the needs of hospitals, including protections for frontline workers, and investments in infrastructure.