DONALD Trump admitted yesterday that if the US can keep its coronavirus death toll to 100,000 his administration will have “done a very good job.”
The President addressed reporters in the White House’s Rose Garden along with Dr Anthony Fauci, his top infectious disease expert, who projected between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from the outbreak.
Donald Trump said a US death toll of 100,000 would mean his administration has ‘done a very good job’
Trump claimed that if America “had done nothing”, referring to the nationwide lockdown and the $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed last week, the country could have suffered millions of deaths.
He said: “Because you are talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million and some people said it could even be higher than that.”
The US leader continued: “And so, if we can hold that down as we are saying to 100,000 – it’s a horrible number – maybe even less, but to a 100,000, and we have between 100,000 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job.”
Trump also warned that the highest peak of coronavirus death rates is “likely to hit in two weeks”.
‘A HORRIBLE NUMBER’
“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” he said, announcing the extension that will see non-essential workers stay at home for the next month.
This comes as coronavirus deaths in the US hit 2,457, with at least 140,990 confirmed cases.
Across the country, schools, businesses and places of work have either been shut down or are restricting hours of operation as health officials try to slow the spread of COVID-19
Just five days ago, Trump announced that he wanted the country to be open again by Easter.
Speaking about opening the country up again, Trump said: “I would love to have it opened by Easter.”
Covid-19 has killed thousands in the US and continues to spread
When asked if it would be possible to reopen the country on Easter Sunday, April 12, the president replied: “I think it’s possible. Why isn’t it?”
Later, Trump added: “Easter is a very special day for me, and I see it sort of in that timeline that I’m thinking about.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the churches full? …Easter Sunday and you’ll have packed churches all over our country.”
However, today Trump announced that he is extending the stop the spread guidelines in the country until April 30th.
When asked by a reporter if aiming to open the country again by Easter was a mistake, the president said no.
“That was aspirational, we had an aspiration of Easter,” Trump said.
He also warned that the highest point of the coronavirus death toll will come in two weeks – which will be Easter Sunday.
Americans are now being called on to prepare for another 30 days of severe economic and social disruption, as schools and businesses are closed and public life is upended.
Trump listens as his top disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci addresses reporters yesterday
The Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse sets up an Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park in New York City
One in three Americans remain under state or local government orders to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.
Trump acknowledged that he may be forced to extend the guidelines again at the end of April, but expressed hope that by June 1, “we should be well on our way to recovery.”
In the end, the Republican, in the face of dire projections and increasingly alarming images out of New York, sided with his health experts and backed off the idea of loosening recommended restrictions on less impacted parts of the country.
“They’re the best in the profession and they didn’t like that idea, he said of Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House coronavirus task force.
Trump was clearly moved by the scenes from New York, particularly hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital in his native Queens.
“I’ve been watching that for the last week on television,” he said.
“I’ve been watching them bring in trailer trucks freezer trucks, they’re freezer trucks, because they can’t handle the bodies, there are so many of them. This is essentially in my community, in Queens, Queens, New York,” he continued.
“I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before.”
Freezer trucks used to store bodies, part of a makeshift morgue behind a hospital, in Manhattan
A man wears a face mask while he visits Times Square in New York City during the virus lockdown
The US’ biggest city, New York, looked like a ghost town this morning
The Oculus transportation hub and mall stands nearly deserted in lower Manhattan
US Army soldiers at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, Washington, where a field a hospital for non-COVID-19 cases will be built
Empty shelving of toilet paper is shown at a Target store after panic buying in Encinitas, California