By sending a terrible warning, the White House predicted Sunday that the maximum number of deaths in the United States because of the coronavirus would probably coincide in two weeks with the Easter weekend and in the worst case, 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could eventually succumb to the virus.
“It is possible. It is quite possible that it will happen if we do not mitigate it. What we are trying to do is not let it happen,” said Anthony Fauci, the top American disease doctor infectious, during a briefing at the White House in the Rose Garden. on Sunday.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, explained that the model that predicts 100,000 to 200,000 deaths assumes that social distancing occurs on a large scale.
“In the model, there is a large confidence interval. In this model, they assume that we continue to do everything we do and even better. We hope that the models are not entirely correct”, said Birx.
At the same time, Fauci urged Americans not to “worry too much” about the extremes of the models. “The models are as good as the assumptions you put in them,” said Fauci.
US President Donald Trump said the grim numbers came from the “most accurate” study to date that landed on his desk on Sunday.
Trump said: “2.2 million people would have died if we hadn’t done social distancing and all that. If we could keep that at 100,000 – it’s a horrible number – we did a very good job . “
Trump has announced that the United States is extending the existing social distancing guidelines until April 30.
Seeking to reassure the Americans, Trump said, “By June 1, we will be well on the road to recovery.”
On Sunday, the death toll in the United States crossed the 2,300 mark and its number, already the highest in the world, reached more than 135,000.
Currently, at least one in three Americans is in some form of government order to stay at home and slow the spread of the virus. Schools have closed, businesses operate with minimal staff, and American neighborhoods are shrouded in another world silence.
The initial “15 days to slow the spread” guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were announced on March 16. The guidelines are voluntary and many states that have become COVID-19 hotspots have more stringent rules for residents. .
Trump last week mentioned the “reopening” of the US economy before Easter Sunday, which falls on April 12. Health care professionals reacted with concern, warning that this schedule would be too soon.
Trump backed down this weekend on a threat to quarantine New York and neighboring states while the CDC issued a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid non-essential travel for 14 days.
In New York, which remains the epicenter of the epidemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo says the virus spreads “like fire through dry grass”. The White House task force has already warned that the effects of mitigation efforts and social isolation will not be visible until at least the end of the coming week.
As the Americans rush, Fauci has taken a cautious and optimistic tone, saying that he feels “confident” with all the knowledge now available on the virus. “We will have some kind of therapy, which gives at least partial if not very good protection to prevent the progression of the disease,” he said this week. Randomized control trials are the way the United States plans to get the best medicine as quickly and safely as possible for the public.
As the White House task force obtains more data on domestic affairs, Birx noted that “we are seeing things here that have not been reported elsewhere.”