White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Monday said U.S. deaths from the illness will eventually reach between 100,000 and 200,000, even if Americans continue to comply with stringent social distancing guidelines.
“If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities,” Birx said on NBC’s The Today Show. “The best case scenario would be 100 percent of Americans doing precisely what is required. But we’re not sure, based on… seeing these pictures, that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another.”
Birx echoed Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the Task Force and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, who on Sunday warned of a similar number of deaths.
“Looking at what we’re seeing now…I would say between 100 and 200,000 [deaths],” Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union. “But I don’t want to be held to that,” he added, saying projections of the spread of the coronavirus could change with new developments.
Both Birx and Fauci warned against complacency for residents of areas that have not seen a large uptick in cases.
“If you just look at those and say, there are very little infections in that area or that area or that area, we don’t have to worry about it, you’re making a big mistake,” Fauci said on CNN on Monday. “Because those are timbers that could turn into big fires.”
Due to the continued spread of coronavirus, President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration would continue to advocate social-distancing guidelines through April 30.
“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” Trump said at a press conference. “That would be the greatest loss of all.”
As of Monday morning, there were 141,995 confirmed cases of coronavirus throughout the U.S., with 59,568 cases in New York alone, according to the New York Times. Over 2,300 Americans have died after contracting the illness.