Written byShalini Ojha ·
Amid the grim news, President Donald Trump said America should brace itself for "very, very painful two weeks".
White House projected COVID-19 might take 100,000-240,000 lives across the country.
The number of infections in the US stands at 188,578, the highest in the world, trumping countries like China (from where the virus originated), Italy (the worst-affected nation), and Spain (the second worst-affected European nation).
To deal with the pandemic, the US, like several other countries, has restricted large gatherings, closed schools, restricted travel, and urged citizens to stay indoors.
The number of deaths was 4,076 -- more than twice the 2,010 recorded late Saturday and more than 40 percent of recorded deaths nationally were in New York state, the Johns Hopkins data shows pic.twitter.com/NbLRt51q4t— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 1, 2020
In what qualifies as one of the most chilling moments of White House's history, the commander-in-chief, Trump, told countrymen that the upcoming days will be full of an ordeal.
"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We're going to go through a very tough two weeks," Trump told media, not giving any false hope to the citizens.
For the most part of the two-hour-long briefing, Trump ceded the stage to Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who are part of the White House coronavirus task force.
Despite social distancing measures in place, the death toll could cross 100,000, Dr. Fauci said but added the administration was doing all it can to reduce the number.
To arrive at these conclusions, experts in the US analyzed cases in the country and matched them with similar models across the globe.
The officials asked people to take the restrictions seriously.
Dr. Birx displayed a chart showing that New York is the worst-hit area, followed by New Jersey. The spread of the disease had slowed down in California and Washington, she highlighted.
"It's communities that will do this. There is no magic bullet. There is no magic vaccine or therapy. It's just behavior," Dr. Birx said, while Dr. Fauci said that as sobering as the prediction was, Americans must be ready for it.
Meanwhile, at the briefing, Trump congratulated himself on the steps he took, perhaps forgetting that he downplayed the threat for weeks.
"What would have happened if we did nothing? Because there was a group that said, 'Let's just ride it out'," he said, without mentioning which group was he referring to.
When asked why he didn't announce restrictions earlier, Trump said he acted "decisively".
When asked about his statements recently that the virus might not cause a lot of damage to the nation, Trump said, "I want to be positive; I don't want to be negative."
But he gave a reality-check by adding, "We're going through probably the worst thing the country's ever seen. We lose more here potentially than you lose in world wars as a country."
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