Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington, as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
In a Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made a potentially dire prediction about the spread of the coronavirus. He indicated that the death toll projections are a “moving target,” but the United States might see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths as a result of the pandemic.
“There are things called models, and when someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions,” the doctor explained. He added, “Looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases… excuse me, deaths. I mean, we’re going to have millions of cases.”
The director tempered his prediction by pointing out that models typically have a “worst-case scenario” built into the projections. “Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I’ve never seen a model of the diseases that I’ve dealt with which the worst-case scenario actually came out. They always overshoot,” he clarified.
Host Jake Tapper brought up the possibility of the federal government imposing quarantines on various states. Earlier this week, President Trump stated that his team was considering this type of measure on New York and some other states.
Fauci indicated he and other members of the team persuaded the President to refrain from enforcing a federal quarantine, arguing that it could cause bigger problems. He said:
“After discussions with the President we made it clear and he agreed, it would be much better to do what’s called a strong advisory. The reason for that is you don’t want to get to the point that you’re enforcing things that would create a bigger difficulty, morale and otherwise when you could probably accomplish the same goal.”
However, Fauci did indicate that the American public might have to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Earlier in the week, Trump said he would like to reopen the economy by Easter Sunday. However, Fauci, as well as other experts, suggested that this timeline might be too early. He recommended that Americans self-quarantine until the number of COVID-19 cases begins to decrease.
So far, about 2,000 Americans have perished due to the virus. There are about 124,000 confirmed cases nationwide. Unfortunately, both of these numbers are continuing to increase. Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force told NBC Host Chuck Todd that the administration is also “asking every single governor and every single mayor to prepare like New York is preparing now.”
The Empire State has been the epicenter of coronavirus cases in the United States with 965 deaths from COVID-19. This accounts for about 42% of all coronavirus-related deaths in the country.
Birx also suggested that state and city leaders become intimately familiar with the locations of hospitals and surgery centers under their jurisdiction so that they could allocate resources “based on need.” She further explained that the virus isn’t always predictable, so it is necessary to be able to move quickly. “We know this epidemic moves in waves,” she pointed out. “Each city will have its own epidemic curve. And so we can move between states, we can move within states, to meet the needs of everyone.”
Based on what the experts are saying, it seems clear that the coronavirus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While many on the right are still downplaying the spread of the disease and the progressive left is still trying to convince us that the virus will bring about the apocalypse, it’s important to remember that the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
It makes sense to take certain precautions to prevent the disease from reaching Fauci’s “worst-case scenario.” But there is no telling how much more social distancing the nation can take, especially with the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. The government can only do so much to mitigate the effects of the safety measures that many states and cities have imposed.
If the government is unable to come up with a solution soon, it could have dire consequences. Americans can’t remain out of work indefinitely, and it’s unlikely that people will want to stay quarantined in their homes for much longer.
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