Trump warns US headed for 'painful two weeks' in fight against coronavirus
President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned of a "very painful" two weeks as the United States wrestles with a coronavirus surge that the White House warns could kill as many as 240,000 Americans.
"This is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks," Trump told a press conference at the White House.
Trump described the pandemic as "a plague".
"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," he said.
White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx displayed charts demonstrating data and modeling that showed an enormous jump in deaths to a range of 100,000 to 240,000 people from the virus in the coming months.
Trump said 2.2 million people could have died, according to the modeling, if no mitigation efforts had been put into place.
He cited those high projections when announcing on Sunday that he planned to extend the federal guidelines rather than pursuing his earlier stated desire to get the US economy moving again by Easter on April 12.
"There's no magic bullet. 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," Birx told reporters, predicting a peak in deaths in the coming two weeks.
Vice President Mike Pence said the mitigation efforts were having an impact. "We have reason to believe that it's working," Pence said of the guidelines. "Do not be discouraged."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has said previously that the pandemic could kill between 100,000 and 200,000 people in the United States, said all efforts were being made to make those numbers lower.
"We're doing everything we can," he said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe