Watch The White House Coronavirus Briefing : NPR
Coronavirus cases in the United States continue to soar and virus-related deaths are mounting, with America’s total fatalities doubling in just two days.
The country’s top infectious disease experts are saying the U.S. may been a long way from the peak of the outbreak.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that COVID-19, the disease brought on by the novel coronavirus, may claim up to 200,000 American lives.
However, Fauci cautioned people not to put too much emphasis on predictions, noting that, “it’s such a moving target, that you could so easily be wrong and mislead people.”
The White House’s coronavirus task force is schedule to hold a briefing at 5 p.m. ET. Watch the briefing live.
Expecting the surge of coronavirus cases to continue, state and local officials are bracing for shortages of medical equipment and supplies.
State leaders — including Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, the nation’s current virus epicenter — are predicting that in the coming weeks critical supplies like ventilators could be far outmatched by the volume of critically ill coronavirus patients.
At the same time, President Trump has been discussing ways to reopen parts of the hobbled economy and possibly relaxing social distancing guidelines, despite harsh warnings from public health experts that doing so could exacerbate the pandemic.
About 1 in 3 Americans are now under orders to remain indoors in an effort to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Dr. Deborah Birx, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, said every part of the country should be taking the pandemic seriously.
“No state, no metro area, will be spared,” Birx said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seasonal flu has killed between an estimated 12,000 and 61,000 people a year since 2010.
The novel coronavirus appears to be more contagious than the flu and the death rate is far greater. It could be 10 times deadlier.
There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus. Experts say developing a vaccine for the virus could take at least a year.