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United States President Donald Trump has emphasized the magnitude of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) – the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease – pandemic at a White House press briefing on March 31, warning US citizens that the country should brace for a tough two-week period ahead.
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” Trump said.
Experts predict that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could possibly lose their lives due to the virus, even while social distancing measures are adhered to.
Focus on mitigation measures
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as sobering as the death toll estimation may be, everyone should be prepared for it. “Is it going to be that much? I hope not and the more we push on mitigation the less likely it would be that number,” Fauci said during the broadcast, which was the first time the White House presented official numbers for estimated coronavirus-related deaths in the country.
During the prediction presentation, experts noted that if social distancing measures were not enforced, up to 2.2 million US citizens could possibly die from the disease. As of April 1, the current death toll in the US is at 4,055. More than a third of the deaths are from New York State.
The Trump administration has been accused of downplaying the impact of the virus and being slow to manage the pandemic after weeks of referring to the coronavirus as a “flu.”
One vocal critic, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, told CNN that Trump’s “fiddling” had cost many lives and questioned the president’s timeline in receiving information on the pandemic. “I don’t know what the scientists said to him, when did this President know about this, and what did he know? What did he know and when did he know about it? That’s for an after-action review. But as the president fiddles, people are dying. And we just have to take every precaution,” Pelosi said.
Trump has explained his approach as offering hope to Americans amid the crisis. “I don’t want to be negative. This is easy to be negative about but I want to give people hope too. You know, I’m a cheerleader for the country,” Trump said.
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