The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic is nearing 35,000 around the world as confirmed cases have now risen to over 730,000. The United States continues to lead in coronavirus cases with over 143,000 known infections — though the true number is certain to be much higher — and over 2,500 deaths.
On Sunday, Trump walked back earlier statements about lifting social distancing advisories by Easter, instead extending the government guidelines through the end of April. He said the peak death rate is likely two weeks from now.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned coronavirus could kill up to 200,000 Americans but that any estimate was still a “moving target.” Trump addressed the possible U.S. death toll while speaking at his Sunday press briefing.
President Donald Trump: “So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths, 2.2 million people, from this. And so, if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — it’s a horrible number — maybe even less, but to 100,000 — so we have between 100,000 to 200,000, we, all together, have done a very good job.”
The 2.2 million figure comes from one projection model if no measures were put in place to slow down the spread of the virus.
Trump also boasted about his TV ratings and attacked PBS News reporter Yamiche Alcindor.
Yamiche Alcindor: “You said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, they don’t actually need. You said New York might not need 30,000” —
President Donald Trump: “I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that.”
Yamiche Alcindor: “You said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News.”
President Donald Trump: “I didn’t say that. Come on. Come on.”
Yamiche Alcindor: “You said that you might” —
President Donald Trump: “You know, why don’t — why don’t you people act — let me ask you” —
Yamiche Alcindor: “You said some states” —
President Donald Trump: “Why don’t you act — why don’t you act in a little more positive — it’s always trying to get you.”
Yamiche Alcindor: “My question to you is” —
President Donald Trump: “Get you, get you. And you know what? That’s why nobody trusts the media anymore. That’s why people” —
Yamiche Alcindor: “My question to you is: How is that going to impact” —
President Donald Trump: “Excuse me, you didn’t hear me. That’s why you used to work for the Times, and now you work for somebody else. Look, let me tell you something: Be nice.”
Yamiche Alcindor: “Mr. President, my question is” —
President Donald Trump: “Don’t be threatening. Don’t be threatening.”
As states continue to issue dire warnings about the severe lack of medical equipment, Trump ordered General Motors Friday to produce 40,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, urging people to “refrain from non-essential domestic travel.” Trump previously said he would impose a quarantine on the tri-state area, which some state officials said was not in his purview.