WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump struck a grim tone during Tuesday’s White House briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, telling Americans the next two weeks would be “painful” both due to a rise in deaths as well as the economic toll of quarantine.
The administration formally updated its “15 Days to Slow the Spread” to 30 days in a new document that urges Americans to “work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible,” “avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more people,” and “avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits,” among hygiene tips.
“This is going to be a rough two week period,” Trump said. “As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” he added. “It’s a matter of life and death.” Whether Americans are forced to do so, however, will be left up to local authorities across the country.
The president’s top medical advisers, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, said that based on the projections they’ve been operating from, the United States could ultimately see anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 Americans die from COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus) – a number they say could have been as high as 2.2 million in the absence of preventative measures.
The administration is working “very hard to bring that number down,” Fauci said.
Some have questioned those models, however, noting they are based on incomplete information and assumptions that may not reflect all the relevant variables among countries, such as overall health, medical system, age, and population density. In the meantime, debate rages as to whether comprehensive lockdowns are necessary or appropriate for every part of the country, given the toll the lockdowns have taken on personal liberties, job losses, and even healthcare capacity.
Meanwhile, CNN is under fire for declining to air the president’s remarks from the briefing, only cutting to it when Birx was about to speak. The move follows a growing chorus of media outlets complaining that the press should, in the words of the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan, “stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings.”
Conservatives call those demands a flip-flop from the mainstream media’s previous complaints that the administration wasn’t taking COVID-19 seriously enough, motivated by the rising approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the crisis.
LifeSiteNews has begun live-streaming Trump’s briefings each evening.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the United States has seen 205,438 cases of COVID-19, with 4,528 deaths and 8,762 recoveries. It remains unknown when the coronavirus first reached American shores and what percentage of the public has actually come into contact with it.