Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, has warned that the growing pandemic will hit every metro area within the country.
Birx, who previously served as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, made the remark during an interview with NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday. She cautioned that the country needs to act quickly to prevent as much of the spread as possible.
“We all are deeply concerned and [that’s] why we’ve been raising the alert in all metro areas and in all states,” the doctor explained. “No state, no metro area will be spared.”
“The sooner we react, and the sooner the states and metro areas react and ensure that they’ve put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospital needs, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” Birx added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave an even more dire prediction in a Sunday interview with CNN’s State of the Union.
“We’re going to have millions of cases,” Fauci warned. He further projected that the U.S. could see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths based on the data he was seeing.
As of the time of writing, there are more than 125,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., according to a tracker updated by John Hopkins University. More than 2,100 people have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and over 2,600 people have already recovered.
The Trump administration has faced substantial criticism from health experts and Democratic lawmakers for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. has far surpassed China, the country where the coronavirus first arose, and every other country in the world in the number of confirmed cases. While Trump took early precautionary action by barring all foreigners who had recently visited China from entering the U.S., the government failed to rapidly roll out testing making it difficult to track the virus’ spread and isolate those infected.
Although health experts have noted that Trump’s early travel ban gave the U.S. additional time to prepare, the lack of testing and failure to isolate those infected during those weeks allowed the coronavirus to spread rapidly throughout the country with little mitigation. Trump also repeatedly downplayed the risk posed by the coronavirus, comparing it repeatedly to the common flu, which is at least 10 times less deadly, and classifying the concern from many as a “new hoax” by the Democrats.
Trump’s “denial at the beginning was deadly. His delay of getting equipment to where–it continues his delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed, is deadly,” Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who represents California, said during a Sunday interview with CNN.
“As the president fiddles, people are dying. We just have to take every precaution” Pelosi added.
Now, over the past two weeks, state and municipal governments have implemented stringent social distancing measures, including closing bars, restaurants, schools, gyms, cinemas and public gatherings. The federal government has also issued social distancing guidelines, while taking steps to support state governments in their battle against the virus.