Donald Trump says he played down coronavirus crisis ‘to give hope’ as he now warns of ‘very painful’ two weeks ahead – The Sun

5DONALD Trump has warned of a tough two weeks in the coronavirus crisis as officials laid out predictions for the death toll.

The President also said he initially played down the crisis in a bid to give Americans hope and that he was a “positive” person who wanted to act as a “cheerleader” for the country.

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"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” the President said.

“This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we've ever had in our country. We're going to lose thousands of people.”

The death toll now stands at 4,059 death with nearly 189,000 reported cases.

Jaw-dropping projections for the number of dead in the coming weeks were laid out during a grim, two-hour White House briefing.

The President had last week expressed a wish for lockdown restrictions on Americans to be lifted in time for Easter.

“I want to be positive. I don’t want to be negative. I’m a positive person," Trump said, adding that he was "cheerleader for the country".

Up to 240,000 Americans could die from coronavirus, White House doctors have warned.

The chilling prediction was repeated by Dr. Deborah Birx as she displayed a distressing line graph showing the sharp rise of coronavirus cases in New York and New Jersey.

Officials described a death toll that in a best-case scenario would likely be greater than the more than 53,000 American lives lost during World War I.

And the model's high end neared the realm of possibility that Americans lost to the virus could approach the 291,000 Americans killed on the battlefield during World War II.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert, echoed the bleak predictions, telling Americans to prepare for at least 100,000 deaths during the pandemic.

"We're gonna continue to see things go up," Fauci said.

"Is it going to be that much, I hope not, and I think the more we push on mitigation it won't be that number."

Health experts aim to lower the number of cases over the next month as part of the Trump administration's plan to stop the spread in 30 days.

Both Birx and Fauci stressed the importance of Americans following mitigation guidelines put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But without consistent continuation over the next 30 days "anything can change", Birx warned.

Despite the harrowing predictions, Fauci assured Americans that the rise in deaths will be followed by a slow, but sure decrease in deaths

"Don't be alarmed," he said, noting that mitigation is "actually working" and will continue to work in states around the country.

The key to flattening the curve is controlling the number of new cases in New York and New Jersey, according to Fauci.

"It's inconvenient, but this is going to be the answer to our problems," he said.

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