The U.S. could see as few as 60,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic if we maintain current levels of social distancing, White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
The new number is a massive revision down from the initial estimate of 100,000–200,000 in late March. Fauci said distancing measures have shown promising signs, but warned that this new revision should not tell Americans it is safe to go soft on distancing, according to Axios. (RELATED: The CIA Is Trying To Find China’s Real Coronavirus Numbers)
“The real data are telling us that it is highly likely that we’re having a definite positive effect by this mitigation things that we’re doing — this physical separation — so I believe we are gonna see a downturn in that. And it looks more like the 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000,” Fauci said. “But having said that, we better be careful that we don’t say, ‘OK, we’re doing so well we can pull back.’ We still have to put our foot on the accelerator when it comes to the mitigation and the physical separation.”
The announcement comes just over one week into President Donald Trump’s “30 Days to Slow the Spread,” which started in April. Trump has said his administration will reevaluate whether the distancing guidelines are still necessary for the whole country at the end of that period. (RELATED: Big Banks Received Billions In 2008 Bailouts, Now They’re Slow To Help Small Businesses)
Fauci’s statement coincided with with the release of a jobs report Thursday, showing that an additional 6.6 million Americans have lost their jobs, raising the unemployment rate to 10 percent, the highest since the Great Depression.
For his part, Trump remains confident the economy will bounce back quickly once the coronavirus is dealt with.