WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The United States could see a worse crisis caused by the coronavirus which could lead to 100,000 or more deaths, health experts say.
- With the models presented to President Donald Trump, he agreed to extend the nationwide social distancing guidelines for another month.
- Various cities, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut which are heavily-hit by the virus, were issued with a travel ban for 14 days.
The United States could eventually see 100,000 or more deaths caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, you know, I would say between 100 and 200,000 [deaths]. But I don’t want to be held to that,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“Whenever the models come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario. Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I’ve never seen a model of the diseases that I’ve dealt with where the worst case actually came out. They always overshoot,” said the doctor, who is also a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths double to more than 2,000 nationwide in two days. The country has now the most confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, with more than 121,000 as of Saturday morning.
President Donald Trump said during a Sunday evening conference that the nationwide social distancing guidelines would be extended for another 30 days. Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, had been supporting extending the precautionary measures and were the ones who presented the models showing 100,000-200,000 deaths.
Despite the analytical projections, there are still skeptics in the White House that the models could be wrong, a source familiar with the president’s decision told CNN.
Health experts, including Fauci, said that the crisis has already caused serious hospital supply shortages around the country, especially in New York which has the highest number of cases nationwide.
In the next two weeks, many hospitals nationwide are expected to run out of beds. On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN that the city’s supplies are only enough to last for a week.
“We have enough supplies to get to a week from today with the exception of ventilators. We’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly. But we have otherwise the supplies to get to next Sunday,” de Blasio told Tapper on the same program. “We are going to need a re-enforcement by Sunday, April 5 in all categories, especially ventilators but in other areas as well. And personnel is becoming more and more the issue.”
Heavily-affected states New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a travel advisory to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.”
Health officials said that the condition in the country caused by COVID-19 will get worse.