Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Trump Raises Projected COVID-19 Death Toll As States Reopen

As states reopen, the president raised the projected COVID-19 death toll from an optimistic 60,000 to 100,000.
“Look, we’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person out of this,” Trump during a Fox News virtual town hall.
The president further placed the blame on China for the virus’s spread and reiterated that over 1 million lives would have been lost without mitigation.
“This should have been stopped in China. If we didn’t do it, the minimum we would have lost is a million, two million, four million, five. That’s the minimum,” he said. “And my opinion is they’ve made a mistake, they tried to cover it, they tried to put it out. It’s like a fire. You know, it’s really like trying to put out a fire. They couldn’t put out the fire.”
When asked if the United States made the right decision to push a nation-wide shutdown, the president said, “We did the right thing. I do look back on it. Because my attitude was we’re not going to shut it down.”
NBC News chronicled the gradual shift from 60,000 to 100,000 since mid-April when the death toll stood at 40,000.
On Friday, the president said he hoped fewer than 100,000 Americans would die in the outbreak, and earlier last week spoke of 60,000 to 70,000 deaths.
On April 20, Trump said the figure could be 50,000 to 60,000 — by this point there had been 40,000 U.S. deaths related to COVID-19.
Internal administration documents seen by NBC News show that that federal government ordered more than 100,000 body bags on April 21.
Currently, there are 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and there have been more than more than 67,000 deaths. Dr. Deborah Birx said on Sunday that she maintains up to 240,000 people could die in the United States from the virus.
“Our projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that’s with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance,” she told Fox News.
The president pushed a message of hope during his town hall, however, when he said that the United States could possibly have a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year.
“We think we’re going to have a vaccine by the end of this year, and we’re pushing very hard,” the president said.  “You know, we’re building supply lines now – we don’t even have the final vaccine … if you look at, Johnson & Johnson is doing it. We have many companies are, I think, close because I meet with the heads of them and I find it a very interesting subject because it’s so important, but I think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of the year.”
Son-in-law to President Trump and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner predicted last week that the country would be back on its feet in June.
“I think what you’ll see in May as the states are reopening now is May will be a transition month, you’ll see a lot of states starting to phase in the different reopening based on the safety guidelines that President Trump outlined on April 19,” Kushner said. “I think you’ll see by June that a lot of the country should be back to normal, and the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again.”

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