America’s top infectious diseases expert is warning that hundreds of thousands of Americans could die unless every citizen joins an effort to blunt the coronavirus pandemic — only to be contradicted by President Donald Trump, who insists the virus is under “tremendous” control.
The fresh sign of Trump’s unwillingness to accept the full, sobering reality of the outbreak came as an anxious America knuckles down to its new self-isolating reality. The country is bracing for the full fury of the virus that is already escalating sharply and is set to subject the foundations of basic life — the nation’s health care, economic and political systems — to a fateful test.
The number of US infections raced up to at least 3,485, including 65 deaths, up more than 500 cases in a day and up from a case load of 457 a week ago, showing how the crisis, that may not reach its peak for weeks, is accelerating.
Among his tweets on coronavirus Sunday, Trump suggested that his entire focus was not on the national emergency: He tweeted that he was thinking about a full pardon for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI.
Earlier that day, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, warned that the US could face a similar crisis as Italy if citizens do not fully embrace self-isolation and social distancing, which are designed to flatten the curve of infections.