WASHINGTON (AP)— The White House is projecting that between 100,000 to 240,000 people in the U.S. will die from the coronavirus pandemic if social distancing measures continue to be followed.
President Donald Trump formally released his 30-day guidelines for battling the coronavirus during a White House briefing Tuesday, saying compliance with the recommendations is a “matter of life and death.”
The guidelines are similar to the administration’s earlier advice that aimed to slow the spread of the virus in two weeks. The president, however, recently announced that he was going to extend the guidelines for another 30 days, giving up his hope to reopen the national economy by Easter.
Trump said: “This is going to be a very painful, very very painful two weeks.”
The guidelines call for continued social distancing, staying at home if sick and calling your doctor. People are also urged to refrain from going to restaurants and bars, utilize delivery and takeout food options and protect the elderly, although young people are at risk too.
Projections suggest that, if no social distancing measures had been put in place across the country, between 1.5 million to 2.2 million people would have died.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is helping to lead the U.S. effort, says, “As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.” But he says he hopes it won’t soar so high.
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has climbed past 3,600, eclipsing China’s official count. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported Tuesday that deaths in New York state had risen more than 300 from the day before, reaching about 1,550, mostly in New York City. That puts the U.S. ahead of China’s official death toll of about 3,300.