Trump, experts say number of COVID-19 deaths could still reach 100,000 in US

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President Trump says he was being 'sarcastic' about disinfectant injections

The comments came during a Sunday Fox News Town Hall

President Donald Trump and his White House Coronavirus Task Force have spoken openly about the bleak outlook for COVID-19’s impact on American lives. Sunday in a town hall meeting, the president shared that, even with mitigation, as many as 100,000 will still die from the omnipresent disease.

During the Fox News Town Hall, Trump touched on what the current prospect is for deaths in the United States, answering a question about whether the shutdown “went too far.”

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“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” he said during the town hall. “That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this. This should have been stopped in China. It should have been stopped.”

He added the shutdown potentially saved millions of lives.

“If we didn’t do it, the minimum we would have lost is a million-two, a million-four, a million-five. That’s the minimum. We would have lost probably higher than — it’s possible higher than 2.2.”

The states reopening their economies, with malls opening Monday and restaurants welcoming dine-in service in Georgia, is expected to contribute to a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The number of cases and deaths from the virus could climb to 3,000 daily deaths by June 1, according to an internal document procured by The Times. That would mean double the current level of daily deaths at about 1,750.

The projection brings the theory under the microscope that mitigation did not combat the “invisible enemy,” as the president has called the virus. While the 3,000 deaths per day is sobering, some experts also say the data on the number of infections is also concerning, Scott Gottlieb, the president’s former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” He said Americans could face a possibility of where “20,000, 30,000 new cases a day diagnosed becomes the new normal.”

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“While mitigation didn’t fail, I think it’s fair to say that it didn’t work as well as we expected,” Gottlieb said. “We expected that we would start seeing more significant declines in new cases and deaths around the nation at this point. And we’re just not seeing that.”

About 67,000 Americans have already died from the disease. During the town hall, Vice President Mike Pence said despite the “heartbreaking losses,” the fact that more people have not died is due to the devotion of courageous health care workers. He encouraged Americans to continue social distancing.

“And if we continue to practice that social distancing and those mitigation efforts as we go through a phased reopening, we’ll create jobs today,” Pence said about the economic benefits of reopening. “And with the president’s vision for infrastructure, a payroll tax cut, I have no doubt that the second half of this year we’re going to see an American comeback.”