The White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from coronavirus if "full mitigation" measures are taken, Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Deborah Birx said during a marathon Coronavirus Task Force Briefing that lasted more than two hours. Without social distancing, deaths could be much higher, the White House projects.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, said the country needs to be prepared for that many deaths, and deaths will "lag," with the number of cases expected to peak over the next two weeks.
"As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it," Fauci said. However, he also said that the numbers could also be lower.
"We're doing everything we can to get it even significantly below that," Fauci said when asked about the models. And as the administration gathers more data, the models can also change, too, Fauci and Birx said.
The president has extended recommendations on how to slow the spread of the virus to April 30, after earlier saying the country could likely to back to a version of normal by April, and could see the "light at the end of the tunnel." The next two weeks, Mr. Trump said Tuesday, will be a "very, very painful" period.
"This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is gonna be a very bad two — or maybe even three — weeks," the president said. "This is going to be three weeks like we haven't seen before."
But those deaths could have been as high as 2.2 million, if the U.S. did nothing, Mr. Trump said.