Trump administration believes COVID-19 deaths will peak in two weeks

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In the Untied States, daily deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will continue to rise for the next two weeks, but will then start to decline, President Donald Trump said during a Tuesday Coronavirus Task Force press briefing.

“We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” said Trump in the briefing. “And then, hopefully, as the experts are predicting, as I think a lot of us are predicting, after having studied it so hard, you’re going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel.”

Those experts include Deborah Birx, MD, ambassador-at-large for the U.S. Department of State, who presented estimates of the COVID-19 death toll under two different scenarios, if no steps are taken to mitigate and epidemic and another with mitigation steps such as social distancing, staying at home, and frequent handwashing.

The models presented 1.5 million and 2.2 million people in the United States succumbing to this virus without mitigation. With mitigation, the number of deaths went down to 100,000 to 200,000, which Birx said “is still way too much.”

Birx showed a chart indicating that, with full mitigation, daily deaths peak at 2,214 on April 15. State-specific estimates show the biggest impacts in New York, with cumulative death rates of about 350 per 100,000 population, and New Jersey, with 200 per 100,000 population. Birx said the government's goal is to ensure that the rest of the country doesn't experience the same extreme rates.

Government officials stressed the importance of keeping the administration’s Slow the Spread mitigation guidelines for at least another month. The full briefing transcript can be accessed here.

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