Washington: President Donald Trump has said that he would consider it a 'win' and a 'very good job' done if he can manage to keep the death toll from coronavirus to between 100,000 and 200,000, since estimates put it at more than 2 million if he did nothing. With that, he has extended the "social distancing" guidelines until April 30.
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 social distancing measures not been put in place. And he said the country would be doing well if it 'can hold' the number of deaths 'down to 100,000.' He said the best case for the country would be for the death rate to peak in about two weeks.
'It’s a horrible number,' Trump said, but added, 'We all together have done a very good job.' As of Monday morning, there were 142,000 cases of coronavirus in the US and 2,500 people had died.
The statement came even as the death toll in New York region, America's epicentre, crossed the 1,000 mark. Meanwhile, horrifying footage have emerged of dead bodies being loaded onto a refrigerated truck outside Brooklyn Hospital in New York City.
There are makeshift morgues and hospitals popping up all over New York, including one in Central Park – a favourite with tourists and joggers. The last time that New York City deployed a fleet of makeshift morgues outside hospitals was in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Queens, the largest borough in New York with a sizeable population of Indians, has been the hardest hit with the number of cases hitting five digits on Sunday with 10,373. New Orleans is expected to be the next hotspot - it currently has 1,350 cases and 73 deaths - but Detroit and Los Angeles are also on radar.
However, Trump assured his countrymen that he expects the US to be on its way to recovery by June 1. The new April 30 date for social distancing marks yet another reversal of position on the pandemic by the President, who keeps changing his political goalposts.
A major disaster declaration has been notified in nearly two dozen states, in addition to Trump declaring a national emergency a week ago. The plight of America is no less than that of a third world country.
Homeless people in Las Vegas, for instance, have been corralled into a disused parking lot and made to sleep less than six feet apart on the concrete after a resident at their shelter caught coronavirus.