In the latest figures released for coronavirus infections, the United States recorded over 25,000 new cases of COVID-19 in just one day, while experts are predicting that there could be as many as 240,000 deaths nationwide, and the worst case scenario models say that the death toll could even rise into the millions.
Donald Trump delivered a marathon speech in a two-hour press conference, warning of a painful two weeks ahead and claiming that “nobody knew how contagious this was.”
According to the latest figures released by Johns Hopkins University, the daily increase in coronavirus cases reach 26,400 yesterday, while worldometers.info recorded the figure at 24,742 yesterday. The total number of deaths in the US has also exceeded China’s, with 912 new deaths yesterday, taking their tally up to 4,053, including over 1,000 in New York City alone.
President Donald Trump has been widely condemned for his shortcomings with regards to mitigating the outbreak, including his failure to prepare testing kits, breathing apparatus and other equipment. On Tuesday, experts advising Trump showed models in his press briefing showing that the death tolls could stand between 100,000 and 240,000 by the time all is said and done, if the government starts implementing strategies to mitigate the crisis.
According to The Guardian, White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, Dr Deborah Birx, told reporters that, should mitigating measures not be taken, in the worst case scenario, between 1,500,000 and 2,200,000 Americans could lose their lives over the course of the outbreak. However, she did say that the “mountain” could turn into a “hill” with the right measures, resulting in the previously stated 100,000 to 240,000 figures.
She did take an optimistic tone, however, with regards to the measures that have been put in place so far, praising California and Washington for their responses which will give Americans “great hope”.
“It’s communities that will do this,” she told reporters. “There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviour.”
When Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked about whether it was likely that the virus will take 100,000 lives, he responded in the affirmative.
“The answer is yes,” he said. “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.”
Trump, who denied his downplaying of the seriousness of the virus in its infancy, has claimed that his early actions were an attempt to give people hope, rather than a false sense of security.
“This is really easy to be negative about,” he said. “But I want to give people hope too. I’m not about bad news. I want to give people hope. I want to give people the feeling that we all have a chance.”
When he was quizzed on the advice that was given to him at the early stages of the outbreak, Trump also denied culpability by saying that the scale of the outbreak was not predictable at the time.
“Nobody knew how contagious this was,” he claimed. “I don’t think any doctor knew it at the time. People have not seen anything like this.”