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Trump now urging U.S. to hunker down through April

President Donald Trump Sunday evening extended the social distancing guidelines through April 30 in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus and the rising death toll.

Trump had earlier talked of starting to roll back the guidelines as early as this week to revive the economy. Now, he called that earlier aim of getting at least swathes of the country back to normal by Easter “aspirational.” He said his health advisers had told him that the peak number of deaths is now likely in two weeks, requiring American to remain hunkered down through next month. He said the country should be on the way to recovery by June 1.

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“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” Trump said at the daily White House task force briefing. “That would be the greatest loss of all.”

Trump in his Rose Garden appearance referred several times to researchers’ earlier projections that as many as 2.2 million people could die in the U.S. — a worst case scenario if the U.S. did not take any steps to fight the coronavirus. The current forecasts, cited by leading members of the White House task force, go as high as 200,000 deaths — though ongoing efforts to reduce social interaction and blunt the impact of the disease could bring that number down.

The president sought to deflect criticism of his administration’s handling of the pandemic, praising the U.S testing as the best in the world and even suggesting that hospitals were exaggerating their need for personal protective equipment. He suggested they may be hoarding “or worse.”

Trump said hospitals in New York City that typically use 10,000 to 20,000 masks now say they need 200,000 to 300,000.

“Something is going on,“ Trump said. “ And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000 and we have that in a lot of different places?”

Trump’s comments come as doctors and nurses in New York City, and other communities across America where hospitals are overflowing with highly infectious patients, say they are being forced to reuse masks and other gear, putting themselves in mortal danger. Some health care workers have already died, among them a 48-year-old nurse manager at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

The president also said that the nation’s failure to ramp up testing was the fault of previous administrations, which left government health agencies unprepared for a pandemic on this scale.

“We had a testing situation that just wasn’t right,” he said. “It was okay for a very small cases, but it was obsolete and it was broken, and it was only good for a very small situation.”


Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

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