White House Task Force Predicts Up To 240K U.S. Deaths In Best Case Scenario; Trump Warns Americans To Prepare For ‘Very Painful 2 Weeks’

AP: White House projects 100K to 240K US deaths from virus
“President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a ‘hell of a bad two weeks’ ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Public health officials stressed that the number could be less if people across the country bear down on keeping their distance from one another…” (Madhani et al., 3/31).

The Hill: Trump tells Americans to brace for ‘very, very painful two weeks’
“… ‘I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,’ Trump said at a White House news briefing. ‘We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks, and then hopefully, as the experts are predicting … we’re going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel.’ ‘But this is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks,’ he added…” (Samuels, 3/31).

New York Times: Trump Confronts a New Reality Before an Expected Wave of Disease and Death
“…The grim-faced president who appeared in the White House briefing room for more than two hours on Tuesday evening beside charts showing death projections of hellacious proportions was coming to grips with a reality he had long refused to accept. At a minimum, the charts predicted that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans would die — and only if the nation abided by stringent social restrictions that would choke the economy and impoverish millions. A crisis that Mr. Trump had repeatedly asserted was ‘under control’ and hoped would ‘miraculously’ disappear has come to consume his presidency, presenting him with a challenge that he seems only now to be seeing more clearly…” (Baker, 4/1).

Washington Post: Trump projects up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in U.S., even with mitigation efforts
“…Deborah Birx, a physician who is coordinating the White House coronavirus task force, delivered a slide show marking a stark difference in the spread of the virus in New York and New Jersey, where the number of cases has spiked, and in the other 48 states and the District. Birx said the federal government’s goal over the next month is to control the outbreak in New York and New Jersey while staving off outbreaks in other states and metropolitan areas. ‘If you had more New Yorks and New Jerseys — you know, Chicago, Detroit, L.A., Dallas, Houston, all of our major cities modeled like New York — that’s what gets us into trouble,’ she said. ‘There’s no magic bullet,’ Birx said. ‘There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors — each of our behaviors translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic over the next 30 days’…” (Rucker/Wan, 3/31).

Additional coverage of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 projections and mitigation recommendations is available from the AP, The Hill (2), NBC, POLITICO, STAT, and Wall Street Journal.

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