President Trump predicted on Sunday night that the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic may reach as high as 100,000 in the United States. This new statement is considerably higher than the original forecast just weeks ago, even as he pressed states to begin reopening to revive the economy.
What We Know:
- The previous forecast called for 60,000 deaths, but as the pandemic continues to develop, the virus has proved more devastating than he had expected. Despite that, Trump still believed parks and beaches should begin reopening and schools should resume classes in person by this fall.
- The rush to reopen also follows the latest statistic of the U.S. economy shrinking at a 4.8% annual rate from January through March, the past week. Over 30 million people have now filed for unemployment aid in the last six weeks and it’s steadily growing with no end in site.
- “We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” Trump said in a virtual “town hall” meeting on Fox News. “That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this.” But he credited himself with preventing the toll from being worse.
- With his reelection bid at stake, Trump stuck to his relentlessly optimistic view of the nation’s ability to rebound soon. Moreover, public health experts believe the nation cannot safely reopen until a vaccine is developed. Trump declared Sunday that he believed one could be available by year’s end.
- Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said in late April that it is conceivable. If a vaccine is able to be developed soon, distribution could start as early as January 2021.
Elsewhere in Washington, the Senate planned to reopen Monday, despite the area’s continued status as a virus hot spot and with the region still under stay-at-home orders. The House remains shuttered as debate continues on what the next stage of the economic recovery may look like.