President Donald Trump warned the U.S. to brace for its toughest period in the coronavirus pandemic and predicted the upcoming week will be the toughest one yet, saying “there will be a lot of death.”
“This will be probably the toughest week between this week and the next week,” Trump said during the White House coronavirus press briefing Saturday.
The president’s warnings come one week after members of his coronavirus task force predicted U.S. coronavirus death tolls could reach between 100,000 and 240,000 and he extended social distancing guidelines through to the end of April.
“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” Trump said. “But a lot less death than if this wasn’t done.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said modeling shows that the city of Detroit, Michigan and the states of Louisiana and New York, three of the largest coronavirus epicenters in the U.S. will likely see their cases peak in the next six or seven days.
In a previous briefing Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, presented a model that predicted up to 240,000 coronavirus related deaths even if recommended social distancing guidelines were met. At the time, members of the coronavirus task force were predicting the peak in cases for the U.S. would likely hit around mid April.
“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.”
Birx has shared Fauci’s view of the potential death toll and in an interview said, “If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities.”
“We will continue to use every power, every authority, every single resource we’ve got to keep our people healthy, safe, secure and to get this thing over with,” Trump said Saturday. “We want to finish this war. We have to get back to work.”
On Saturday, the total number of U.S. coronavirus cases passed 300,000. According to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus case tracking map, there are 305,820 confirmed coronavirus cases, of which 8,291 cases have been fatal. Another 14,520 cases have reportedly resolved.
Globally, reported coronavirus cases have a nearing 1.2 million, with over 64,000 recorded deaths and over 245,000 recovered cases.