(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a surge is coming in the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 160,000 Americans and killed more than 3,700, but urged everyone to follow federal guidelines so the country can end the pandemic.
“The surge is coming and it’s coming pretty strong,” Trump said at his daily press briefing of the White House’s COVID-19 task force.
The president said the next two weeks will be tough on everyone.
“We’re going to have a very tough two weeks” before the country sees the “light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said. “This is going to be a very painful two weeks.”
He called on Americans to practice social distancing, wash their hands, and follow federal guidelines on halting the spread of COVID-19, the disease cause by the novel coronavirus that originated in China in December.
“We’re at war with a deadly virus,” he said, adding that everyone needs to “do what we all know is right. Every citizen is being called on to make sacrifices.”
On Monday, Trump extended the guidelines to April 30.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, followed Trump and said for the U.S. to get to the other side of the pandemic, Americans must do their part.
“This is done community by community,” she said. “I know it’s a lot to ask, because you’ve done it for 15 days.”
Birx said projections show that 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from the disease, but if residents adhere to strict guidelines, that number could be reduced.
“We don’t accept that that number is what the number is going to be,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. “Is it going to be that much? I hope not.”
Upon questioning, Fauci later said that the 100,000 to 200,000 death is the low end of the model, but that all the models officials are looking at are based on limited data and fatality rates still can be improved.
Fauci also said Americans’ social distancing practices and other sacrifices are making a difference and remain key to the country mitigating the impact.
“We’re seeing little inklings of this in New York,” the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country, Fauci said. “The mitigation is working and will work.”
He later added, “Now is the time to put the foot on the accelerator” for following the social distancing guidelines.