200,000 US deaths from Covid-19 now 'best case estimate', says top Trump advisor

30 March 2020, 19:45

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The head of President Trump’s coronavirus task force now says 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States is a “best case” estimate.

Dr. Deborah Brix was speaking within hours of President Trump’s decision to abandon plans to reopen the US economy next month, and his extension of his social distancing guidelines for another 30 days.

She continued that she is "worried" Americans aren’t doing enough to observe the President’s now-extended social distancing guidelines.

Dr. Brix said: "I think everyone understands now that you can go from five to 50 to 500 to 5,000 cases very quickly.

"I think in some of the metro areas we were late in getting people to follow the 15-day guidelines."

She said the best case scenario would be for "100 percent of Americans doing precisely what is required, but we're not sure that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another."

The president's new policy means social distancing measures will remain in place until April 30.

The turnabout came after Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said up to 200,000 Americans could die and millions become infected if lockdowns and social distancing did not continue.

"We want to make sure that we don't prematurely think we're doing so great," Dr Fauci said.

Mr Trump said the "peak" of the coronavirus pandemic is expected in two weeks.

The US now has more than 143,000 infections and 2,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, while three-quarters of a million people around the world have become infected and over 35,000 have died.

On, President Trump said that, if his administration's models are correct and the coronavirus outbreak brings 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the US, his administration would "have done a good job."

However, across the country hospitals are expect to run out of beds within two weeks as cases continue to rise.

New York remains the epicenter of the U.S. crisis, and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that a 68-bed makeshift hospital tent is being built outside Mount Sinai Hospital in Central Park. 

On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that his city "only has enough supplies to last one week."

He said: "We're going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly. But we have otherwise the supplies to get to next Sunday."

"We are going to need a re-enforcement by Sunday, April 5 in all categories, especially ventilators but in other areas as well. And personnel is becoming more and more the issue."