Dr. Birx: Trump’s Projection of 100-200K COVID-19 Deaths Is Only If Americans Follow Rules ‘Almost Perfectly’
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump changed his tune, recognizing that hundreds of thousands of Americans could potentially die as a result of the spread of coronavirus in this nation — and stating that 100,000 to 200,000 deaths would actually be a success, in his mind.
On the issue of mortality numbers, “if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to…between 100,000 and 200,000, we all together have done a very good job,” Trump said on Sunday afternoon.
Those comments came just a little over a month from when Trump said his administration had the disease “under control,” and just mere weeks after saying that the Obama administration’s handling of H1N1 in 2009 was a “catastrophe” because just under 13,000 people had died.
On Monday morning, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, explained that Trump’s 100,000 figure could very likely be exceeded.
Birx, appearing on NBC’s “Today,” said the numbers Trump said would be a “very good job” are only possible if every American exercise social distancing protocols, Axios reported.
“If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we can get into the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities,” Birx explained.
??Dr. Birx on Today: "If we do things together well … we could get in the range of 100,000-200,000 fatalities. We don't even want to see that." #Covid_19
— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) March 30, 2020
Unfortunately, things don’t look too good on that front, she said. Judging from media reports, “we’re not sure that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another,” she opined.
That could result in worse outcomes. Areas that “don’t social distance, that don’t stay at home, that believe you can have social interactions…that is going to spread the virus, even if everyone looks well,” Bix said.
As of Monday, only 27 states, accounting for 225 million Americans, are under “stay in place” or similar orders from their respective governors. That represents about 68.8 percent of the country that’s under an order to stay inside except for necessary travels to grocery stores or other reasons…meaning more than 3-in-10 Americans are not under such orders, and are free to move about in ways that run counter to Dr. Birx’s recommendations.
Trump had previously expressed a desire to end social distancing altogether by Easter. On Sunday, he announced he was extending his goal to the end of April.
Featured image credit: The White House/Flickr