President Donald Trump on Thursday argued the coronavirus is likely more prevalent than the numbers report because so many people have it but don’t go to a doctor.
‘It’s one thing to have it. It’s another thing to die,’ the president said at his daily White House coronavirus briefing.
‘When I first got involved I was told numbers much higher than the number that seems to be. Remember that people that have it – I just spoke to two people who had but never went to a doctor. They didn’t report it. You have thousands and hundreds of thousands of cases like that,’ he said.
President Donald Trump argued the coronavirus is likely more prevalent than the numbers report because so many people have it but don’t go to a doctor
Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the day-to-day coronavirus response for the administration, said the prediction models don’t match the reality on the ground in countries like China, South Korea or Italy either
The president made his remarks as the United States became the country with the most coronavirus cases in the world with 81,000 infections and more than 1,000 deaths.
Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the day-to-day coronavirus response for the administration, said the prediction models don’t match the reality on the ground in countries like China, South Korea or Italy either – all of which were hard hit by the coronavirus.
‘We are about five times the size of Italy. If we were Italy and you did all of those divisions, Italy should have close to 400,000 deaths. They are not close to achieving that. These are the kinds ever things we are trying to understand. Models are models. There is enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to make predictions more sound,’ she said.
New figures released on Thursday show that the U.S. has overtaken China and Italy with the number of confirmed cases in the global pandemic.
Italy is still the hardest hit country in terms of deaths with more than 8,000 fatalities. China, where the pandemic began in December, has recorded more than 3,000 deaths.
The number of coronavirus infections have now topped a half-million worldwide.
But the president argued Thursday that Americans are ready to go back to work.
‘We have to get back to work. Our people want to work. They want to go back. They have to go back and we’re going to be talking about dates,’ he said.
Trump has advocated for a return to normalcy as his original 15 day recommendations – which advised no social gatherings over 10 people and eating take out – to stop the spread of the coronavirus will expire early next week.
The president down played concerns from some medical experts that more time may be needed to ensure the virus has been contained. And he argued that people would still be practicing social distancing and hand washing.
‘Maybe people won’t be shaking hands anymore,’ he said. ‘The regular flu would be cut down by quite a bit if we didn’t shake hands. You have a lot of deaths with that. When we are open, that doesn’t mean you will be stop the guidelines. You will still distance yourself. But the timing is coming.’
The president suggested Easter as a good time to reopen the nation’s tanking economy although many medical experts have cautioned that April 12 date may be too soon.
Trump also revealed his administration is working on a new set of guidelines to help the country re-open that would grade every county a high, medium or low risk for coronavirus.
‘My administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local policymakers to use in making decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place,’ he wrote in a letter to the nation’s governors that was released by the White House.
Trump argued that ‘expanding testing capacities’ would make it easier to help classify hot spot areas for the virus and the data would then be used to classify counties for their risk level.
‘This will incorporate robust surveillance testing, which allows us to monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country. Using these data-driven criteria, we will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as “high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk,”‘ he wrote.
Birx said the coronavirus task force was still working on the details, including a timeline for when the risk assessment will be ready.
‘Well, we have to get all of our data together. We owe it to the president to make that decision. That’s what we are working on right now,’ she said at the daily White House briefing.
The president’s push comes after the World Health Organization this week predicted a grim outlook for the U.S., saying that the country would quickly become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic given the ‘very large acceleration’ of confirmed infections.
A member of the Brooklyn Hospital Center helps a person who was just tested for COVID-19 put an object in a biohazard bag
New York on Thursday recorded 100 coronavirus deaths in just 24 hours, bringing the state total to 385, as the number of fatal cases across the United States increased to more than 1,000.
New York, which is the epicenter of the US outbreak with 50 percent of the country’s total confirmed cases, now as 385 deaths and more than 37,000 infections.
There are 280 deaths in New York City and more than 21,000 infections.
Louisiana is now emerging as the possible next epicenter of the US outbreak after infections rose by 30 percent in 24 hours. That state recorded 1,800 infections and 65 deaths by Thursday. Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans – the area that accounts for about 70 percent of the state’s cases – has been blamed for the outbreak there.
New Jersey has 4,400 confirmed cases and 62 deaths, while California has more than 3,000 cases and 67 deaths. Washington state, which was initially the epicenter following an outbreak at a Seattle nursing home, now has 2,600 confirmed cases and 133 deaths.
It comes as new research showed the outbreak could lead to more than 80,000 deaths in the US within the next four months and overwhelm hospital capacity nationally as soon as early April even if social distancing measures are respected.
Forecasters at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine have predicted that during the epidemic peak – set for some point in April – as many as 2,300 patients could die every day.
This was the case even if the population adhered to strict social distancing measures.
Their predictions came after analyzing the latest COVID-19 data, including hospitalization and mortality rates, as well as patient date in terms of age, gender and pre-existing health problems.
The analysis warned that based on current trends, demand for both ICU beds and ventilators would far exceed capacity for COVID-19 patients as early as the second week of April.
It comes as health care systems in both New York and Europe buckled under the weight of caring for seriously ill victims as officials desperately searched for enough ventilators to keep them alive.
New York City’s convention center is now being turned into a temporary hospital and a makeshift morgue was set up outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday to cope with a possible surge in victims.
Public health officials in New York hunted down beds and medical equipment and put out a call for more doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick will explode in a matter of weeks, overwhelming hospitals as has happened in Italy and Spain.
In a preview of what might be ahead for the US, Spain has converted hotels into makeshift hospitals and turned an ice rink in Madrid into a temporary morgue. The curve of infections has not slowed in Spain, which now has more than 4,100 deaths, second only to Italy’s death toll.
Faced with the exponential spread of the pandemic, the US Senate passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems.
Millions of Americans hoped the measure would give them a lifeline as they lost jobs, income and child care due to the social-distancing rules needed to slow the spread of the virus.
At least 1.5 billion people across the world are now under severe travel restrictions.
But the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, scolded world leaders for wasting precious time in the fight against the virus that has already killed more than 21,000 people, thrown millions out of work and ravaged the world economy.
He called it ‘public enemy No. 1.’
Across the US, roughly half of the population have been affected by stay-at-home orders in at least 18 states.
The sweeping orders are aimed at slowing the spread of the pathogen but have upended daily life as schools and businesses shutter indefinitely.