infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said that “as sobering a number as
that [100,000] is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I
hope not and the more we push on mitigation the less likely it would be that
“But being realistic, we need to
prepare ourselves… it will be difficult – no one is denying we are going
through a very difficult time right now.”
President Donald Trump is expected to help businesses in America by allowing
them to delay payments on certain tariffs.
US imposes tariffs – fees for importing certain products from overseas – on a
raft of goods, including steel from China.
the president is expected to waive payment of these fees for 90 days to help
improve US companies’ cashflows as they struggle with lockdowns.
90-day breathing space will apply to specific goods from “most-favored
nations”, although these are not expected to include imports from China or Europe.
400 chief executives of small, medium, and large companies in the US urged
President Trump in a letter on March 31 to delay the collection of these fees
for up to 180 days.
The cash would normally be paid direct to the US government.
The US last week became the country with the most reported cases, ahead of
Italy and China.
Speaking during the latest Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the
White House on March 29, President Trump said that measures such as social
distancing were “the way you win”, adding that the US “will be
well on our way to recovery” by June.
Suggesting that the “peak” of death rates in the US was likely to
hit in two weeks, President Trump said that “nothing would be worse than
declaring victory before victory is won – that would be the greatest loss of
Analysts suggest that when President Trump referred to a peak in the “death rate”, he probably meant the total number of recorded infections.
Asked how long the emergency will
last, President Trump said: “People
are talking about July, August, something like that, so it could be right in
that period of time where I say, it washes through.”
The president continued: “They think August, could be July,
could be longer than that.”
He said he was not considering a
national curfew or lockdown, though added:
“We may look at certain areas, certain hot spots as they call them.”
President Trump said he had not yet
decided to close the US-Canada border, but told reporters it was something the
administration was considering.
He also addressed issues of testing,
as the US has been criticized for lagging far behind smaller countries in
getting tests out to the states.
Officials said on March 16 that a
million tests were currently available and more would be coming this week.
“A lot of testing has been going on,” President Trump said, though he also noted that those
without symptoms should not get the test.
“Not everybody should run out and get the test, but
we’re able to handle tremendous numbers.”
Health officials also said they are
due to add 30 million masks to the US supply and are shipping out gear and
health workers to bolster local testing efforts.
Asked how he would score his
administration’s response to the crisis on a scale of one to 10, President
Trump said: “I’d rate it a 10. I
think we’ve done a great job.”
White House coronavirus response coordinator
Dr. Deborah Birx, who joined the president, issued an appeal directly to
millennials, asking them to limit social contact.
She said: “They are the core people that will stop this virus.
“We really want people to be separated.”
Dr. Birx also warned against
socializing even if people feel well.
She said: “We know that there is a large group of infected people who are
asymptomatic, who continue to spread the virus.”
VP Mike Pence, who is leading the
coronavirus taskforce, told reporters he had not been tested yet.
He said: “I’m in regular consultation with the White House physician and he said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time that has had the coronavirus and that my wife and I have had no symptoms.”
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