President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that his administration has decided to extend the social distancing guidelines from his initial estimate of April 12, until the end of April to continue the fight against spread of the coronavirus.
The President’s tone was calm as he spoke to reassure millions of Americans that we are on the right path.
“I want the American people to know that your selfless inspiring and valiant efforts are saving countless lives,” Trump said.
“You are making the difference. The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks, so I will say it again, the peak, highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks.”
“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” Trump continued. “That would be the greatest loss of all. Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines, have to follow the guidelines that our great vice president holds up a lot. He’s holding that up a lot. He believes it in so strongly.”
“Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30th, to slow the spread. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people, so we’ll be having lots of meetings in between, but we’ll be having a very important statement made on Tuesday, probably Tuesday evening, on all of the findings, all of the data, and the reasons we’re doing things the way we’re doing them.”
Trump also announced a major win in that health insurers Cigna and Humana are waiving patient cost-sharing and co-payments for all coronavirus effective Monday.
Trump’s announcement comes after a Sunday interview on CNN which featured Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying the coronavirus pandemic could cause “between 100,000 and 200,000” deaths in the United States.
Fauci said to the CNN host that while those numbers are not likely, they’re prepared for the worst, “You know, Jake, to be honest with you, we don’t really have any firm idea. There are things called models. When someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions. And the model is only as good or as accurate as your assumptions.”
“ Whenever the models come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario. Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I’ve never seen a model of the diseases that I’ve dealt with where the worst case came out. They always overshoot. So when you use numbers like a million, million and a half, 2 million, that almost certainly is off the chart. It’s not impossible, but very, very unlikely.”
He added, “I mean looking at what we’re seeing now, you know, would say between 100 and 200,000 cases. But I don’t want to be held to that because — excuse me, deaths. We’re going to have millions of cases. But I just don’t think we really need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned on Friday that the numbers we’ll receive in the coming week do not reflect the powerful social distancing measures being practiced around the country.
“We know that the hospital admissions that we are seeing this week and next week will be infections that occurred before the mitigation started. But we wanted to make sure, going forward, that the needs reflected that.”
During his Sunday press briefing, President Trump also laid out optimism for what the future might look like after we defeat COVID-19.
“We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1st a lot of great things will be happening,” Trump added.
Trump concluded, “I want every citizen in our country to take heart and confidence in the fact that we have the best medical minds in the world, tackling this disease. We have the best scientists, the best researchers, the best talent, anywhere working night and day to protect your family and loved ones and to overcome this pandemic. With the grace of god, we’re rising to the occasion. We are proving that no darkness can overshadow the eternal light with American courage. We will win, and when we do, we will rebound with astonishing force and speed.”