The worst is yet to come, members of the White House’s coronavirus task force warned during Saturday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said officials are focused on three hot spots where cases will peak in the coming days.
“So as you can look and the places that are the most difficult hit right now: the Detroit area, the New York area, the Louisiana area. We are doing it by the counties in those states because mostly it’s metro areas and the bedroom communities around those metro areas,” Birx said.
She said that the virus spread “because people went to work and got exposed and came home and exposed others.”
“If you look out in New York now you see that it’s in Long Island and is out in Suffolk County and Nassau County. All of those counties, Wayne and Oakland, they’re all on the upside of their curve of mortality. So you know when you get to the peak you come down the other side,” she said.
Birx was asked when that peak will hit.
“So by the predictions that are in that healthdata.org, they are predicting in those three hot spots, all of them hitting together in the next six to seven days,” she said.
Birx danced around efforts of the media to project a number of deaths.
“It’s variable. Each one of those communities is different. But you know where New York is, how much their mortality has been, and you know what we’re seeing today are the people who were infected two or three weeks ago. If mitigation in New York worked and we believe it is working, the cases are going to start to go down, but the mortality will be a lag behind that,” she said.
“So that’s why all of the predictions are that this next week, and I think we said this last Sunday when we talked about the charts, and it’s difficult. We tried to prepare the American people to understand that as much as you go up, you have to come down the other side because coming down as a reflection of the cases that were coming in before,” she said.
Birx was asked about past comments concerning Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
“We’re watching them because they are starting to go on that upside of the curve. We’re hoping and believing that if people mitigate strongly, the work that they did over the last two weeks will blunt that curve, and they won’t have the same upward slope and peak that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and part of Rhode Island are having,” she said.
Birx said that the best way to blunt the curve of rising cases is by following the administration’s guidelines.
“So the next two weeks are extraordinarily important, and that’s why I think you’ve heard from Dr. Fauci, from myself, from the president and the vice president, that this is the moment to do everything that you can on the presidential guidelines. This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store and not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe. That means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands,” she said.
“This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week, and there’ll be a lot of death unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done, but there will be death,” President Donald Trump said during Saturday’s briefing.
“We’re looking for an obvious focus and the hardest hit regions. Some of them are obvious and some aren’t so obvious. They spring up. They come and they hit you like you got hit by a club, an area that wasn’t at all bothered. You look at what’s going on in New Jersey. The governor’s doing an excellent job by the way, but how that sprang up,” Trump said.
Trump noted that there was one overriding principle in the task force‘s work.
“Every decision that we’re making is made to save lives. It’s really our sole consideration. We want to save lives. We want as few lives lost as possible,” he said.
As of Sunday, there have been 312,249 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins. There have been 8,503 deaths related to the virus, while 15,021 Americans have recovered from the symptoms.
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