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The news heading into Wednesday for the United States was the most somber, and most alarming, in weeks of somber and alarming news: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the top government scientists battling the coronavirus, now estimate that the deadly pandemic could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans despite measures already in place aimed at keeping people away from each other.
The estimate, offered Tuesday, was the first President Trump’s administration has given publicly on the likely number of deaths from the coronavirus.
Deaths had been increasing steadily; now, if government projects are correct, the number of dead is about to skyrocket.
One bit of perspective: The low end of the range, 100,000 deaths, is about how many U.S. military personnel were killed in the Korean War and Vietnam War, combined.
Doctors Fauci and Birx said they would do everything they could to keep the death toll down but warned they were using “our real number” and emphasized that even more people could die if people fail to follow the strict guidelines to keep the virus from spreading.
So, stay home.
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President Trump’s tone has changed markedly from just last week, when he said he was still hoping to see packed pews for Easter Sunday services.
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” he said at Tuesday’s news conference on the coronavirus. “We’re going through a very tough few weeks.”
Trump Warns of ‘Very, Very Painful Two Weeks’ Ahead: The New York Times
The somber news came as the number of deaths in the United States eclipsed the number of deaths reported in China. As of Wednesday morning, Johns Hopkins University had recorded more than 4,000 deaths caused by the virus officially known as COVID-19, while China — where the new coronavirus first originated — has recorded 3,309.
U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Passes China
Anybody who still needs convincing of the seriousness of the virus should look at New York City, where emergency hospitals continue to be built, including smack in Central Park. Or look at any number of hospitals in the country where even medical workers can’t get protective gear, like masks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo updated New York state residents Tuesday, pronouncing the disaster unlike any other the city has weathered: “This is ongoing, and the duration itself is debilitating and exhausting and depressing.”
As of Wednesday, New York state has recorded more than 76,000 cases and more than 1,700 deaths.
With tears in his eyes, Cuomo also reported Tuesday that his brother, Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for the virus. Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor and host of Cuomo Prime Time, confirmed the diagnosis on Twitter.
In the tweet, Chris Cuomo said he will continue hosting his 9 p.m. show from home. This is the third case of coronavirus involving CNN’s New York City office, according to the news company.
Coronavirus In NYC: What’s Happened And What You Need To Know
Governor Cuomo’s Brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Tests Positive For Coronavirus
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Also on Tuesday, Democrats in the House of Representatives were outlining elements of a fourth government relief package, just days after President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion economic stimulus package into law.
In the stimulus package still under construction, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats would call for increased protections and equipment for workers on the front lines of the coronavirus, expanded paid leave, a major new infrastructure investment and additional funds for state and local governments, The New York Times reported.
Congress Just Spent $2 Trillion on Coronavirus Relief. It’s Eyeing More.
Numbers: Latest U.S. Confirmed Cases and Deaths
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