(USA Features) A top health official on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force said Wednesday it appears as though the number of deaths from coronavirus will be far fewer than previous estimates.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked during the task force’s daily briefing about new projections from a model run by the University of Washington which said there could be as many as 60,400 deaths in the U.S. by August, far fewer than the 100,000-240,000 previously forecast.
“As we’re getting more data and seeing the positive of effect of mitigation, those numbers are going to be downgraded, as you’ve said,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what the numbers are going to be, but right now it looks like it’s going to be less than the original projection.”
Fauci said the numbers of deaths were falling because of the extreme social distancing measures in place.
“Now’s not the time to pull back at all — it’s the time to intensify,” he said.
Nevertheless, Fauci noted that “It’s going to be a bad week for deaths.”
Still, he added that after this week, the death rate should begin to fall.
“So, we need to keep pushing on the mitigation strategies because there is no doubt that that is having a positive impact on the dynamics of the outbreak,” he added.
Even as Fauci and his task force colleague, Dr. Deborah Birx, continue to push for dramatic social distancing and maintaining business closures, other analysts are calling for the president to begin recommending that parts of the economy be opened up again.
That would actually be up to governors and mayors, but if the White House were to recommend measures that would permit businesses to be reopened under safety guidelines, it’s likely some states would do so.