President Trump issued a grim warning to Americans on Tuesday that the country would face a spike in deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in coming weeks before the situation started to improve.
“This is going to be a rough two weeks. As a nation, we face a difficult few weeks as we approach that really important day when we will see things get better. All of a sudden, and it will be like a first light,” the president said from the White House during the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing.
“Our strength will be tested, and our endurance will be tried. But America will answer with love, courage and ironclad resolve. This is the time for all Americans to come together and do our part.
Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, the top experts on the task force, showed models that predicted that as many as 2.2 million Americans could perish without strict efforts to control the virus and universal cooperation from Americans to comply with the task force’s guidelines.
If the guidelines — such as handwashing and social distancing — are taken seriously, the toll could be substantially lower, closer to 100,000, they said.
“We are going to continue to see things go up,” Fauci said.
But while deaths will climb, new cases should begin to slacken, he added.
“So now we have to brace ourselves, and next several days to a week or so, we will continue to see things go up. You cannot be discouraged by that, because mitigation is actually working and it will work,” he said, noting that there was already a glimmer of hope in New York’s efforts to slow the spread of the disease.
Birx also stressed the importance of following the guidelines.
“I know it is stressful to follow the guidelines, but it is more stressful and difficult [for] the soldiers on the front lines,” she said.
“There is no magic bullet, no magic vaccine or therapy. It is just behavior. Each of our behaviors translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic over the next 30 days.
Fauci said earlier Tuesday the idea of using masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus was under “very active discussion” by the task force.
“The idea of getting a much more broad, community-wide use of masks outside of the health care setting is under very active discussion at the task force. The CDC group is looking at that very carefully,” Fauci told CNN.
His comments came a day after Trump said he could see a time when all Americans would be advised to wear masks in public to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The idea contradicted the government’s current guidance, which says that masks aren’t necessary for most people.
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