Trump: U.S. Death Toll could Reach 100,000, but will have Vaccine by Year End
President Trump predicted on Sunday evening that the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic devastating the country might lead as high as 100,000 in the US, far higher than he had projected just weeks ago, even as he urged states to start reopening the shuttered economy.
Mr. Trump, who last month forecast that 60,000 lives would be lost, acknowledged that the virus has proved more devastating than he had expected but said he believes parks and beaches should start reviving. Institutions should continue classes in person by this fall.
But he credited himself with limiting the toll from being worse. “If we didn’t do it, the least we would have lost was a million two, a million four, a million five, that’s the minimum. We would have lost presumably higher”.
During the two-hour newscast, he also conceded he was notified about the coronavirus in his daily intelligence briefing on Jan. 23. However, he stated that the information was described as if “it was not a big deal.” Mr. Trump affirmed reports that his intelligence briefings cited the virus even as he claimed that it had not been presented in a distressing way that required an immediate response.
“On Jan. 23, I was informed that there could be a virus coming in, but it was of no real import,” Mr. Trump stated. “In other words, it wasn’t, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do something, we’ve got to do something.’ It was a short talk, and it was only on Jan. 23. Shortly thereafter, I closed the country to China. We had 23 people in the room and I was the only one in the room who wanted to close it down.”
During the Fox broadcast, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democrat who is challenging Trump in this year’s presidential campaign, posted a short campaign video on social media criticizing the incumbent’s leadership during the pandemic.
“Donald Trump believed the job was about tweets and rallies and big parades,” a narrator says. “He never thought he’d have to defend almost 330 million Americans. So, he didn’t.”
In an evaluation that conflicts with those of some public health specialists, Trump stated he believed that by the end of the year, there would be a vaccine against COVID-19.
“We are very sure that we are going to have a vaccine at the end of the year,” Trump said. “We think we are going to have a vaccine by the end of this year, and we are pushing very hard.”
According to experts, a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months to develop. “Now, the doctors will say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t say that.’ I’ll say what I think…I think we’re going to have a vaccine much sooner rather than later,” he added.
At least 1.16 million cases of the highly contagious novel coronavirus have been reported in the United States and its territories, according to a Reuters tally of state and local government sources. At least 67,500 have died of the illness across the United States, with the largest numbers so far in New York state.
Featured Image: Bodies are buried on New York’s Hart Island on April 9. New York City officials say that Hart Island, which for decades has been used as the final resting place for people who died unclaimed, will now be used for unclaimed coronavirus victims. Image Source: Reuters