“The surge is coming, and it’s coming pretty strong,” said President Trump Tuesday during a press conference at the White House. “As a nation, we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
On Sunday, Trump extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April as experts warned the US to expect between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths. Without social distancing and other methods, the projected number of deaths increases to between 1.6 and 2.2 million.
“This is tough. People are suffering,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top coronavirus expert. “It’s inconvenient from a societal standpoint, from an economic standpoint to go through this, but this is going to be the answer to our problems.”
The Administration this week unveiled its new “30 Days to Slow the Spread” plan, which reiterates and extends existing advice including: social distancing, frequent hand washing, working from home, avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, and bypassing discretionary travel.
“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” said Trump. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
While medical care is expected to reduce the number of deaths, human behavior is the key factor in the pandemic’s course, explained White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. “There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” said Birx, warning of potential outbreaks in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, and Massachusetts if human behavior in those places is not altered.
To date, the US has reported more than 181,000 cases and 3,606 deaths – with New York City remaining the hardest-hit location. With morgues and other storage spaces overwhelmed, FEMA is sending 85 refrigerated trucks to help New York store the bodies.
“I watched the doctors and nurses walking into the hospital [in Elmhurst, Queens] this morning and it is like military people going into battle, going into war,” said President Trump. “The bravery is incredible.”