President Donald Trump has warned that the week ahead could be the worst yet in the COVID-19 crisis, but he and other administration officials also shared a positive note Sunday, using terms such as “glimmers of progress” and “light at the end of the tunnel.”
“In the days ahead. America will endure the peak of this terrible pandemic,” Trump said. “Our warriors in this life and death battle are the incredible doctors and nurses and health care workers on the front line of the fight.”
Last week Trump announced that the peak death toll is expected to be reached in the next two weeks.
“Things are happening. We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said at the press briefing. “And hopefully in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be very proud of the job we all did.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, noted data coming from two of the hardest hit countries.
“As you can see from the hopeful signs in Italy and Spain, where we see finally new cases and deaths declining, it’s giving us hope of what our future could be,” Birx said.
Birx turned to charts showing the number of state cases per 100,000 citizens. The District of Columbia and Pennsylvania are new to the list of jurisdictions where 10% or more are testing positive for the coronavirus.
New York, the hardest hit state, actually has seen a decrease among those testing positive for coronavirus. However, New Jersey is seeing an increase, Birx said.
Other states with a high number of cases are Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut, Washington, Illinois, and Colorado.
Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the task force, spoke to governors from New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and Louisiana earlier Sunday, and had some positive news.
“We are seeing a trend of some leveling [from] all the governors I spoke to today,” Pence said, later adding:
We are beginning to see the glimmers of progress. The experts will tell me not to jump to any conclusions, and I’m not. But, like your president, I’m an optimistic person and I’m hopeful.
The truth is we’re starting to see cases, most importantly losses, and hospitalizations beginning to stabilize. But, make no mistake about it, I want to say to the American people, if that holds, if that is happening, it’s because of what all of you are doing.
During the press briefing, Trump said the government has purchased and stockpiled 29 million pills of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has been used in other countries to treat coronavirus, while waiting for a vaccine.
“I’m not looking at it one way or another, but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early,” Trump said of the drug’s effectiveness.
“I’ve seen things I sort of like; so what do I know, I’m not a doctor,” the president added. “But I have common sense. The FDA feels good about it. As you know, they approved it, they gave it a rapid approval.”