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Social Distancing Is Working, As COVID-19 Death Estimates Go Down — Here’s How Trump Could Screw It Up

Projections for how many Americans may die as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have been cut nearly in half, and social distancing seems to be the reason why.

Earlier in the month, White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed the need for Americans to stay at home as much as possible in order to combat spread of the disease.

“This is inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint, but we just have to do it,” he said, adding that the strict measures were our “major weapon” against the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, however, Fauci said there were “some glimmers of hope” in recent days, pointing out lower hospitalization rates in the New York City area in particular than had previously been seen.

Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show, Fauci said he was not backing away from comments from last weekend describing the next two weeks as a “struggle” for the U.S. But he did seem to acknowledge that death estimates may be cut in half from what was projected before.

“I believe we are going to see a downturn in that, and it looks more like the 60,000 [range] than the 100,000 to 200,000” that was previously estimated, he said.

Credit was given by Fauci to Americans, who adhered to social distancing standards:

“I think the American public have done a really terrific job just buckling down and doing those physical separations and adhering to those guidelines.”

Yet Fauci argued now was not the time that Americans should let up, and that they should “still put their foot on the accelerator” when it comes to social distancing.

Whether President Donald Trump agrees with Fauci’s statements, however, has yet to be seen.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Because Trump is antsy to reopen the nation’s economy, he may see the revised numbers and get cocky about them. Believing that they mean things are going in a positive direction, the president may determine, perhaps too prematurely, that businesses can open back up within a matter of weeks, possibly even before April comes to an end — a move that many health experts say would be problematic and harmful to Americans in the long-run.

While a number of states will see their “peaks” in deaths this week, many others won’t be living under the same timeframe. Florida, Wisconsin, and California, for instance, won’t see their peaks until the end of the month or the beginning of May. Texas, Oregon, Missouri, and Virginia, meanwhile, won’t see their peaks until mid- to late-May.

Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr



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