President Donald Trump acknowledged Sunday for the first time that deaths in the United States from coronavirus could reach 100,000 or more, adding that if the death toll stays at or below 100,000, “we all together have done a very good job.”
Trump’s assertion came after he was asked about comments the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, made earlier Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that based on models, 100,000 Americans or more could die from the virus.
On Sunday, Trump said during an evening news conference at the White House that he’d decided to extend the nationwide social distancing guidelines – which include suggested limits on large gatherings – for another 30 days to April 30.
During his news conference, Trump said he received what he called the “most accurate” or “most comprehensive” study today about the potential death toll from Covid-19.
He said there could be up more than 2 million cases if “we did nothing” but he did not give more details on the exact number. Fauci told CNN earlier Sunday that the US could see millions of cases of coronavirus in the US.
“When I heard the number today. First time I heard that number, because I have been asking the same question to some people. I felt even better about what we did last week with the $2.2 trillion dollars,” Trump said in reference to the historic stimulus package passed by Congress last week. “Because you are talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million and some people said it could even be higher than that. You are talking about 2.2 million deaths. 2.2 million people from this,” Trump said.
This story has been updated with additional details from Trump’s Sunday news conference.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.