Daily US Times, Washington: President Donald Trump warned of ‘very painful weeks ahead’, mentioning the next two weeks as he extended social distancing measures nationwide. He said even if the distancing measures followed closely — could still mean more than 100,000 and up to 240,000 Americans die from coronavirus.
The stark warning came from a President who in the past weeks continuously downplaying the severity of the virus and questioned its potential impact in the United States.
Last Friday, he had suggested that if state leaders were not “appreciative” of him, he wouldn’t talk to them. On Tuesday, he recounted conversations with Democratic governors in California and Louisiana.
At his regular press briefing at the White House, Trump did not try to minimize the gravest public health crisis in decades, instead, he advised Americans that darker days are still to come.
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” Trump said.
Describing the pandemic as ”a plague”, Mr Trump said, “This is going to be a very painful – a very, very painful two weeks.”
After he spoke, the top health officials on Trump’s task force presented a series of slides showing their models for how the social distancing measures might help prevent potentially millions of deaths.
Worsening projections suggest the virus might claim up to 250,000 US lives in the coming weeks and months.
In a dire prediction, Dr. Deborah Birx said that even if the federal guidelines are followed precisely, between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths could still occur. That number will surpass the American death toll in the Vietnam War.
More than 4,000 people have died in the US so far.
In the past 24 hours, 865 people have died in the US due to coronavirus, making it the country’s biggest daily toll so far.
US death toll now surpassed China, where the outbreak started but still fewer than Italy, Spain, and France.
The number of confirmed cases in the US stands at more than 188,000, by far the highest number around the globe.
US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said: ”We need to prepare ourselves… it will be difficult – no one is denying we are going through a very difficult time right now.”
The president tried to frame this news as best he could, noting that the projections for US casualties if the government had done nothing were in the millions.
As the US is expecting painful days, global cases now exceeding 850,000, with 42,000 deaths, the coming weeks are crucial. Countries around the world are setting up hospitals in ships, stadiums and parks.
Meanwhile, In Australia, the virus has led to the suspension of the print editions of around 60 regional newspapers across the country.
On Wednesday, Media group News Corp said it will move content online.
News Corp Australasia chief Michael Miller said, “We have not taken this decision lightly,” explaining that the already troubled sector had received another blow with advertising sales plummeting.
Two US staff die in DR Congo and Indonesia
US state department said on Tuesday, two local staff at foreign missions of the US have died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The two deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia are the first pandemic-related deaths among its staff around the globe. There have been no American casualties from the virus, the department said.
Congo closed the country’s borders last week and imposed a state of emergency. Around 100 people have contracted the virus in the country and eight have died.
Indonesia reported more than 1,500 cases with 136 deaths.
Canada death toll jumps
Canada now has more than 8,500 confirmed infections and the country’s death toll has risen by more than a third to 101 in less than a day.
All 10 of the country’s provinces and three territories have declared states of emergency and ordered people to stay home.
On Tuesday, Quebec warned it was running low on key medical equipment and authorities have vowed to spend more to ease these critical shortages.
The province is also stationing police on the US border to ensure returning travelers know they must go into isolation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would remain in self-imposed isolation even though his wife, who had contracted the coronavirus, has recovered.
South Korean cases continue despite ‘flat curve’
Around 100 people in South Korea testing positive for the coronavirus every day, though it has been widely seen as one of several countries that have successfully controlled their coronavirus outbreaks.
The country reported 101 cases yesterday and also a new cluster from a Seoul church.
Nearly 10,000 people have been tested positive in the country, but death toll of 165 has remained comparatively low.