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President Donald Trump’s estimate of more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths shows U.S. is unprepared in handling pandemics
On Sunday, President Donald Trump shared some startling statistics to the press. Even with stricter social distancing rules and other measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could still end up dying due to the disease.
But the figure could have been higher. According to Trump, the COVID-19 death toll could reach more than 2 million if the government did nothing.
“You’re talking about 2.2 million deaths,” Donald Trump told reported on Sunday’s White House news conference. The figure is the estimated number of fatalities if no measures are taken to slow down the COVID-19’s spread, according to an Imperial College study.
But with his administration’s efforts, Trump is confident that the number could be drastically reduced. He will consider his team as having done a good job if COVID-19 deaths could be reduced to somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000.
“So if we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000, it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 [thousand] and 200,000, we altogether have done a very good job,” Donald Trump said.
However, there are those who say that the estimates just prove the unpreparedness of the Trump administration in dealing with the pandemic. “But it’s also a horrifying number, in part, because much of it was likely preventable,” Vox senior correspondent German Lopez wrote. “If the US — including the Trump administration — had better prepared for pandemics, the country likely could have avoided ever talking about 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.”
The problem, according to one health expert, was that the U.S. government was too slow to act. “If we’d jumped into contract tracing and testing, social distancing, and health system preparedness as soon as we heard reports from China, we’d be in a very different situation now,” New York University epidemiologist Céline Gounder.
“So now 100,000 to 200,000 Americans are likely to die,” Lopez wrote. “Trump failed to prepare, then downplayed the coronavirus outbreak. Every step of the way, the Trump administration failed to take the threat of a pandemic seriously.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times also blamed the slow responses of the CDC, the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. “Across the government, they said, three agencies responsible for detecting and combating threats like the coronavirus failed to prepare quickly enough,” the publication wrote. “Even as scientists looked at China and sounded alarms, none of the agencies’ directors conveyed the urgency required to spur a no-holds-barred defense.”