US is on coronavirus trajectory similar to Italy, Mike Pence says

Washington: US Vice President Mike Pence said the White House's models for the coronavirus pandemic show the country on a trajectory akin to hard-hit Italy.

Speaking to CNN, Pence said: "We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point."

Mike Pence, pictured with Donald Trump, says the US is on a similar trajectory to Italy.Credit:AP

Pence was referencing the prediction models unveiled by the White House on Tuesday that project 100,000 to 240,000 US deaths in the coronavirus pandemic. Those figures assume that the country maintains rigorous social-distancing practices for the duration of the public health crisis.

Italy's health system was stretched beyond capacity weeks ago leading to soaring death tolls. US governors and local officials have warned their states need urgent federal help to avoid a similar fate.

Pence also defended the Trump administration's response in the early days of the pandemic amid mounting criticism that the US government was slow to act.

"Well, look, the reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming," Pence said.

While the Chinese government took steps to conceal the severity of the outbreak there, President Trump spent weeks playing down the threat the coronavirus posed in the US, comparing the virus to the flu and predicting that it would disappear with minimal impact.

Pressed on that point on Wednesday, local time, Pence denied that Trump had spoken dismissively about the virus.

"I don’t believe the President has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus," he said on CNN.

Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter

Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day’s crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here and The Age’s here.

More to come

AP, with Washington Post

Source: Read Full Article