Dr Anthony Fauci, Trump administration’s top infectious disease expert, warns the US could face over 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths and millions of infections. Dr Fauci detailed his views in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. It comes after Trump announced on Sunday that coronavirus lockdown measures will be extended until at least April 30 after he admitted the death rate in the US could hit its peak in two weeks.
He said: “We're going to have millions of cases,”
“But I don't want to be held to that,” he explained as the pandemic is “such a moving target”.
The US became the World’s most infected country with 132,647 affected by the virus and 2,355 related deaths.
The government is considering easing the measures in states that have not been hard-hit by the virus outbreak once the 15-day lockdown period ends.
Fauci said he would only support the government’s plans to rollback the restrictions in lesser impacted states if enhance testing is in place.
Dr Fauci delivers his briefing alongside Donald Trump (L)
He also said he supported Trump’s decision not to impose a strict quarantine on parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as he considers it would create “a bigger difficulty”. He recommended the government issues a travel advisory for the New York metro area instead.
Dr Fauci said: “After discussions with the President we made it clear and he agreed, it would be much better to do what's called a strong advisory,
“The reason for that is you don't want to get to the point that you're enforcing things that would create a bigger difficulty, morale and otherwise, when you could probably accomplish the same goal.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised residents of the three states to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately”.
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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci
“What you don't want is people traveling from that area to other areas of the country and inadvertently and innocently infecting other individuals,” Fauci said.
“We felt the better way to do this would be an advisory as opposed to a very strict quarantine. And the President agreed, and that's why he made that determination last night.”
The New York City area has reported 33,786 cases and 678 deaths.
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According to Fauci’s research about 56 percent of the country's new infections have spread from the New York City area.
Other cities including Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Boston are being controlled as they could be potential hotspots.
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, warned that all areas would be affected by the outbreak.
“Every metro area should assume that they will have an outbreak equivalent to New York,” Birx said.
Dr Birx added that the government is working to get medical supplies including ventilators out to the more overwhelmed areas.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx
“Hospitals are so busy taking care of the people who are ill, they can't be spending time doing inventory,” Birx said. “We need to help and support that.”
Dr Birx added: “The sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they have put in full mitigation ... then we'll be able to move forward.”
Mr Trump has issued emergency declarations in 18 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Washington state.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has conveyed similar concern for new areas.