US President Trump warns of ‘toughest week’ with a ‘lot of death’
US President Donald Trump on Saturday warned Americans of a “lot of death” as he sought to urge them to brace themselves for the “toughest week” yet in the fight against the coronavirus that killed an average of more than a 1,000 people in the last few days and infected thousands.
“This will be probably the toughest week, between this week and the next week,” the American president told reporters at the daily briefing by the White House coronavirus task force. “And there will be a lot of death, unfortunately.”
More than 8,500 Americans have died in the outbreak till Sunday morning, over 1,000 from the previous day; and the number of confirmed cases climbed to 3,12,000. New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana states remain the hardest hit, with New York City bearing the brunt of it. Washington DC, Colorado and Pennsylvania are emerging worries, health officials have said. Washington state, which reported the first death in February, and California, which was the first state to issue stay-at-home orders, have kept their numbers low and are being touted as the model for social-distancing for others.
The next week will be tough, as US officials has been warning for a while. They have warned of 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities in all despite the social-distancing measures in place, without which deaths could be as high as 2.2 million. And in anticipation of the peak, they stepped up preventive measures to include — as a recommendation, not mandatory — masks or face covering in public, and stepped up procurement of protective gear for health workers such as gowns, masks and gloves.
“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” said Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe, and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands.”
The grim warning came amidst projections that New York, Louisiana and Detroit in Michigan, the three hotspot regions with the highest incidence of cases, will be hitting their peaks together in six to seven days.
New York state had reported 3,565 fatalities till Sunday morning, with 2,624 in New York City along; the total number of cases in the state that continues to be the epicenter of the American coronavirus epidemic, followed by New Jersey with 846, Michigan with 504 and Louisiana with 409 deaths.
While the situation remains dire in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily briefing on Sunday that over the last few days “the number of deaths has been dropping for the first time”. But he hastened to add it was too early to know what to make of it, though new hospitalizations are also down.
The struggle for resources continued, despite Trump administration’s claims to the contrary. New York is still short of ventilators that are needed for several ill Covid-19 patients. “The number of beds doesn’t really matter anymore. We have the beds. It’s the ventilators, and then it’s the staff,” the governor said. He has appealed to other states to send over their supplies and health professionals to help the state at this time, promising to reciprocate when they needed it, in a rolling pattern.
Over 66,000 people have died in the pandemic globally and there have been more than1.25 million confirmed cases. It has wreaked havoc on economies around the world, including the richest nations — an estimated 10 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last two weeks.
Developing countries are expected to be hit the hardest. “In three to six weeks, Europe and America will continue in the throes of this — but there is no doubt the center will move to places like Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and Monrovia,” said Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, to the Washington Post. “We need to be very worried.”
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