Americas, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

US expects up to 200K deaths if virus response perfect

If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000-200,000' deaths, says Deborah Birx

Michael Hernandez   | 30.03.2020
US expects up to 200K deaths if virus response perfect

WASHINGTON

The doctor leading the White House's novel coronavirus response team said Monday she is expecting as many as 200,000 coronavirus cases if the U.S. response to the outbreak is done "almost perfectly."

"If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000-200,000 fatalities," Dr. Deborah Birx said while speaking on the Today morning television show. "We don't even want to see that."

The warning comes one day after U.S. President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines for an additional 30 days running until the end of April in an effort to rein in the virus' spread as the death toll and number of infections continue to mount.

In all, there are 144,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and 2,572 deaths, according to data being compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The state of Maryland, which borders the nation's capital, issued a stay at home order for its residents on Monday, with Gov. Larry Hogan saying those who flout the directive will face misdemeanor charges including up to one year in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.

Exemptions are being made for individuals performing essential tasks like seeking medical care or buying food. The order will go into effect Monday night.

But Birx warned that all jurisdictions must take the outbreak seriously, saying that is major urban centers and rural areas "don't take care now, by the time you see it, it has penetrated your community pretty significantly."

"The best care scenario would be 100 percent of Americans doing precisely what is required, but we're not sure that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another," she said.

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