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Dr. Fauci: ‘Be prepared for 100,000-240,000 Americans to die’ from coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, listens to a reporter’s question at the coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
March 31, 2020

During a Tuesday evening press briefing, the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force warned the public to prepare for between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans to die from coronavirus — even with mitigation efforts.

When asked whether Americans should be prepared for 100,000 deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “yes.”

“The answer is, yes. As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” he said.

“Is it going to be that much? I hope not, and I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it would be that number. But being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves that that is a possibility,” Fauci added.

U.S. coronavirus trend model revealed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force on March 31, 2020. (White House/Released)

Without mitigation, the modeling shows a possible 1.5 million to 2.2 million deaths.

Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx the White House coronavirus response coordinator, both agreed on the possibility of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths with mitigation, but said they remain hopeful to bring those numbers down.

“The numbers could be significantly lower than what we’re talking about,” Fauci noted.

Birx explained that the projected numbers created by the models could be slightly skewed due to the number of cases in New York and New Jersey, which are significantly above the other 48 states.

U.S. coronavirus trend model revealed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force on March 31, 2020. (White House/Released)

The task force also unveiled the newly extended federal guidelines to slow the coronavirus outbreak. The “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines encourage Americans to continue social distancing, teleworking, frequently washing hands, avoiding non-essential travel until April 30.

“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” Trump said. “It’s a matter of life and death.”

The task force’s modeling predicts that U.S. coronavirus deaths will peak in the next two weeks.

“This is going to be a rough two week period,” Trump said. “As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”