(30 Mar 2020) President Donald Trump's impulse to restore normalcy met a sober reality check Sunday from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, who said the U.S. could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic.
Trump's decision to extend the guidelines of the voluntary national shutdown reflected a recognition that the struggle will take place over the longer haul and the risk of deaths spiraling into the hundreds of thousands is real.
It was a stark shift in tone by the president, who only days ago mused about the country reopening in a few weeks.
From the Rose Garden, he said his Easter revival hopes had only been "aspirational."
"We had an aspiration of Easter but when you hear these kinds of numbers and you hear the potential travesty, we don't want to have a spike up," the president told reporters in the Rose Garden.
Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had the country not put social distancing measures in place.
Trump minimized the gravity of the pandemic for weeks.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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Apr 3, 2020