U.S. Experts Predict Up To 200K American Deaths If Federal Social Distancing Guidance Followed; Responses Remain Disjointed Across Country

Science: The United States leads in coronavirus cases, but not pandemic response
“…Trump announced on 29 March that federal recommendations to practice physical distancing would re­main in place at least through the end of April, dropping his much-criticized push for a faster return to business as usual. In the meantime, officials across the nation are scrambling to find enough ventilators, protective gear, and supplies for hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients — or about to be. Many state governors ratcheted up restrictions intended to slow the pandemic, imposing stay-at-home orders that some said could last into June. Despite such actions, the U.S. pandemic response remains a work in progress — fragmented, chaotic, and plagued by con­tradictory messaging from political lead­ers. … [T]he question now is whether the United States — a patchwork of more than 50 state and territorial govern­ments marked by political polarization and a history of fierce resistance to centralized authority — can follow through…” (4/1).

Vox: Trump’s coronavirus death toll estimate exposes his failure
“President Donald Trump revealed a grim projection in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday: Even with the social distancing the U.S. is doing now, 100,000 to 200,000 Americans will likely die as a result of the ongoing outbreak. ‘When you see 100,000 people, that’s a minimum number,’ Trump said. It’s a horrifying figure. That’s more people than ever died in a single year from HIV/AIDS, drug overdoses, gun violence, or car crashes in the U.S.. It’s more than American casualties during the entire Vietnam War. But it’s also a horrifying number, in part, because much of it was likely preventable. If the U.S. — including the Trump administration — had better prepared for pandemics, the country likely could have avoided ever talking about 100,000 to 200,000 deaths…” (Lopez, 4/1).

Washington Post: Decoding the graphs that may have saved millions of American lives
“…Tuesday’s briefing by the White House coronavirus task force marked the end of the initial 15-day period in which it advocated strong measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. Members of the task force, particularly Deborah Birx, promised a review of the available data once the initial period had ended and a reconsideration of the government’s recommendations. At Tuesday’s briefing, she walked through the data in five often alarming graphs, presumably ones similar to what were presented to Trump — and which might have impressed upon him the need to retain the measures that were already in place…” (Bump, 4/1).

Washington Post: Social distancing works. The earlier the better, California and Washington data show.
“Mandatory social distancing works. The earlier the better, preliminary data from two weeks of stay-at-home orders in California and Washington show. Those states were the first to report community cases of covid-19 and also the first in the nation to mandate residents stay at home to keep physically apart. Analyses from academics and federal and local officials indicate those moves bought those communities precious time — and also may have ‘flattened the curve’ of infections for the long haul…” (Fowler et al., 4/1).

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