White House points to hopeful signs as deaths keep rising

At the end of a week officials had warned would be this generation’s Pearl Harbor, White House officials pointed to hopeful signs Friday that the spread of the coronavirus could be slowing, even as President Donald Trump insisted he would not move to reopen the country until it is safe.

Posted: Apr 10, 2020 5:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — At the end of a week officials had warned would be this generation’s Pearl Harbor, White House officials pointed to hopeful signs Friday that the spread of the coronavirus could be slowing, even as President Donald Trump insisted he would not move to reopen the country until it is safe.

At the same time, Trump said he would be announcing the launch of what he dubbed the “Opening our Country” task force next Tuesday to work toward that goal.

“I want to get it open as soon as possible,” he said at a Good Friday briefing, while adding: “The facts are going to determine what I do.”

With the economy reeling and job losses soaring, Trump has been itching to reopen the country, drawing alarm from health experts who warn that doing so too quickly could spark a deadly resurgence that could undermine current distancing efforts.

But Trump, who had once set Easter Sunday as the date he hoped people in certain parts of the country might begin to return to work and pack church pews, said he would continue to listen to health experts like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx as he considers what he described as the “biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

“I listen to them about everything,” he claimed, adding: “We’re not doing anything until we know that this country is going be healthy. We don’t want to go back and start doing it over again.”

Trump’s comments came at the end of a week officials had warned would be a devastating one for the country. Hours earlier, Johns Hopkins University announced that the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus had hit a bleak milestone: 100,000 people. That includes about 18,000 in the U.S., where about half-million people have been confirmed infected.

More than 40% of the deaths in the U.S so far have happened in New York state, which reported 777 new deaths on Friday.

But there were also signs of hope, with state officials reporting that the number of people in intensive care dropped for the first time there since mid-March. Hospitalizations are also slowing, with 290 new patients admitted in a single day versus daily increases of more than 1,000 last week.

While bemoaning the death numbers as “so horrible,” Trump also said, “Tremendous progress is being made.”

“In the midst of grief and pain, we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives,” he said, pointing to models that are now forecasting far fewer U.S. deaths than had originally been predicted.

Health experts have warned, however, that if the country rolls back restrictions too quickly, case levels could once again begin to soar, especially without widespread testing to determine who might be a carrier of the virus. While the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. And research has shown that people can be highly infectious even if they are not displaying symptoms.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, told CNN that the timeline for reopening the country would be informed by a team that has been reviewing data day-by-day and presenting that information to the president.

“The virus kind of decides whether or not it’s appropriate to open it,” he said. “The one thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to get out there prematurely and then wind up backtracking.”

Still, he cautioned that there will most certainly be cases when that day comes.

“When we decide, at a proper time, when we’re going to be relaxing some of the restrictions, there’s no doubt you’re going to see cases,” he said. “The question is how you respond to them.”

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1590342

Reported Deaths: 26979
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook60937610925
DuPage1031521352
Will865801083
Lake764741056
Kane65399842
Winnebago38682543
Madison37731569
St. Clair34758561
McHenry32773313
Peoria25738361
Champaign25601182
Sangamon24263266
McLean21611205
Tazewell19559326
Rock Island17631342
Kankakee16523233
Kendall15274105
LaSalle14349275
Macon14248233
Vermilion12908182
Adams12589147
DeKalb11542127
Williamson11206156
Whiteside7813176
Boone756681
Jackson756683
Coles7175112
Ogle705385
Grundy693181
Clinton676498
Franklin669694
Knox6528163
Marion6454135
Macoupin636597
Henry610272
Jefferson5981131
Effingham588980
Livingston564394
Woodford549791
Stephenson540089
Randolph522996
Monroe503299
Christian481980
Morgan479995
Fulton479069
Logan473573
Montgomery462876
Lee454956
Bureau423087
Perry411171
Saline399263
Iroquois391171
Fayette387756
McDonough352155
Jersey319753
Douglas303336
Shelby300343
Crawford298930
Lawrence294631
Union293846
Wayne267957
White261530
Richland256852
Hancock253434
Pike252256
Cass247728
Clark244138
Bond242224
Clay233347
Ford233056
Edgar229844
Carroll223937
Warren220456
Moultrie209331
Johnson208922
Washington204927
Jo Daviess203525
Greene199339
Mason196251
Wabash196115
Massac195144
De Witt192730
Piatt188814
Mercer187035
Cumberland174123
Menard155812
Jasper149518
Marshall133721
Hamilton127221
Brown10138
Pulaski97311
Schuyler9608
Edwards94815
Stark76027
Gallatin7285
Scott6895
Alexander66411
Calhoun6382
Henderson63114
Hardin55713
Putnam5414
Pope4725
Unassigned1582432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 926604

Reported Deaths: 15083
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1262201958
Lake626901087
Allen52772747
Hamilton43283445
St. Joseph41475584
Elkhart33129488
Vanderburgh29927439
Tippecanoe26589247
Johnson23267415
Hendricks21902340
Porter21473341
Clark17150224
Madison17065379
Vigo15815273
Monroe14298190
LaPorte14108237
Delaware13771219
Howard13635262
Kosciusko11232134
Hancock10637160
Warrick10523176
Bartholomew10341167
Floyd10200202
Wayne9690218
Grant8939196
Morgan8734158
Boone8299109
Dubois7596123
Henry7469128
Dearborn745187
Noble7294101
Marshall7237128
Cass7097117
Lawrence6862150
Shelby6457107
Jackson643981
Gibson6036106
Harrison595585
Huntington591891
Montgomery5706102
DeKalb563591
Knox537599
Miami531983
Clinton527164
Putnam525367
Whitley516251
Steuben486367
Wabash477492
Jasper471961
Jefferson461991
Ripley444175
Adams439365
Daviess4064106
Scott394963
White386257
Clay382356
Greene380189
Wells379683
Decatur379595
Fayette367176
Posey354941
Jennings346356
Washington325847
LaGrange315774
Spencer313034
Fountain309753
Randolph305487
Sullivan299447
Owen279161
Starke272761
Orange272659
Fulton268851
Jay250634
Perry247451
Carroll241127
Franklin233637
Vermillion229750
Rush228930
Parke215220
Tipton206754
Pike202538
Blackford165634
Pulaski158751
Crawford142818
Newton140742
Benton139816
Brown132646
Martin126916
Switzerland123510
Warren113416
Union93511
Ohio77211
Unassigned0468