President Donald Trump warned there will be many American deaths in the coming week in a somber start to his daily briefing on the coronavirus pandemic Saturday at the White House.
Trump predicted that the coming week would be one of the ‘toughest’ weeks the country could face due to the spreading disease.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States have increased by more than 100,000 in the past three days as the death toll topped 8,500 on Saturday.
New York City continues to be the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak where 2,624 people have lost their lives.
‘This will probably be the toughest week – between this week and next week,’ Trump told reporters.
‘There will be a lot of death, unfortunately. But a lot less death than if this wasn’t done,’ he added of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. On Saturday, he warned there ‘will be death’ as the pandemic worsens
Trump tried to prepare Americans for what will be one of the ‘toughest’ weeks yet in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, he returned to wanting to open America back up for business
Dr. Anthony Fauci said at Saturday’s briefing that he’s seen evidence that the social distancing policies being recommended by the federal government are making a difference in slowing the spread of coronavirus across the U.S.
‘But there will be death,’ he admitted before continuing to tout the use of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a treatment.
The president was joined Saturday by coronavirus taskforce members including Vice President Mike Pence – who reminded reporters that one of the deadliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak will be the Christian holy week in the lead-up to Easter.
Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci were also on hand, as was Dr. Stephen Hahn of the Food and Drug Administration.
The president had originally wanted to open up the country by Easter, but on Sunday decided to keep the federal social distancing policies in place through the end of April.
At the top of his mind had been whether the ‘cure’ – closing down all non-essential American businesses – was worse than the disease itself.
He still wrestled with that choice throughout Saturday’s briefing.
‘This country was not designed to be closed,’ he complained from the podium.
‘We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. This country wasn´t meant for this,’ Trump also said.
Earlier Saturday, Trump had said that Dana Perino, a Fox News Channel host and former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, had a ‘good idea’ when she floated the idea that the president should form a second coronavirus taskforce to plan how, exactly, to open back up the economy.
‘Thinking about it,’ the president confirmed at the briefing. ‘Getting a group of people.’
At noon on Saturday Trump met with all the major league sports commissioners.
ESPN reported that he said on the call that he predicted the NFL season would kick off in time.
At the briefing he refused to give a when, disputing he had said August.
‘I want fans back in the arenas,’ he said. ‘Whenever we’re ready, as soon as we can.’
The president then predicted it would be sooner than later.
He also said the Republicans had no ‘contingency plan’ to reschedule the August Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democrats, whose convention in Milwaukee was supposed to be held in July, already announced a new August date.
‘We’re not going to have to have separation for the rest of our time on the planet,’ the president said.
Fauci, taking the podium early in the briefing, said that the doctors have seen that the policies of social distancing have had an effect in slowing the spread of the virus.
‘I want to actually just plea as I do … as sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference,’ Fauci said.
Trump announced Saturday that he will be sending 1,000 extra medical personnel from the armed forces to New York where hospitals are struggling to cope with the massive numbers of patients due to the outbreak.
On Friday, all cell phones in the city were issued an emergency alert calling on all healthcare workers to aid in medical facilities if they can.
This Sunday, April 5, is deemed ‘D-Day’ for the city and will reveal whether supplies are going to hold up as the outbreak in the Big Apple reaches its peak.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already stressed that hospitals in the city have just a few days left before they will run out of ventilators.