WASHINGTON (AP) – (Update) President Donald Trump is bracing the United States for a grim death toll from the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday he extended the voluntary national shutdown for a month. In doing so, he was bowing to public-health experts who told him the coronavirus pandemic could claim over 100,000 lives in the U.S., perhaps significantly more, if not enough is done to fight it. It was a stark shift in tone by the president. Only days ago he mused about the country reopening in a few weeks. From the Rose Garden on Sunday, he said his Easter revival hopes had only been “aspirational.”
The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert says the country could see 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that millions could become infected in the United States. Faced with that grim projection and the possibility that even more could die in the U.S. without measures to keep people away from each other, President Donald Trump extended federal guidelines recommending people stay home for another 30 days until the end of April. The death toll in the U.S. stands at more than 2,400, with close to half of those fatalities in New York state. Worldwide, more than 33,000 people have died, half of them in Spain and Italy.
President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force will give a live update today on Covid-19 around 2pm our time. We’re carry it live on Fm News 101. Stay Connected to Fm News 101 KXL for the latest on the Coronavirus global pandemic.
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Members of the Coronavirus Task Force, charged with leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, are expected to hold a briefing Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, one day after President Trump said he was considering, then backed away from, imposing a quarantine on the New York metro area in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Before departing the White House on Saturday to see off the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, which is bound for New York, Mr. Trump told reporters there was a “possibility” he would enforce a quarantine of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as the Empire State is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
The suggestion was swiftly panned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who called the idea “preposterous” and questioned the legality of such a move. Hours later, Mr. Trump said on Twitter that a “quarantine will not be necessary” and instead said he directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a “travel advisory.”
The advisory urges residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. It does not apply to residents working in “critical infrastructure industries” such as trucking, public health, financial services and food supply.
There are more than 124,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University, including more than 53,000 in New York state alone. More than 2,100 people in the U.S. have died of the illness, including an infant in Illinois, considered to be the youngest fatality.
The U.S. now ranks above Italy and Spain for the highest number of coronavirus cases