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: 685467

Reported Deaths: 12439
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook2913126414
DuPage42881762
Will36762544
Lake35460619
Kane30350453
Winnebago18042253
Madison13560236
McHenry13529153
St. Clair12513255
Champaign1042954
Sangamon955493
Peoria8529129
Rock Island8278126
Kankakee8190103
McLean802052
Tazewell633595
Macon6191128
Kendall594742
LaSalle5808130
DeKalb476446
Adams457148
Boone372133
Vermilion364446
Whiteside3595104
Williamson340779
Coles320758
Clinton310959
Ogle269929
Knox264558
Grundy259718
Effingham259520
Jackson256436
Henry250213
Stephenson235034
Marion234946
Livingston213523
Randolph213125
Morgan209534
Macoupin205617
Bureau201440
Monroe195744
Franklin193622
Christian180740
Lee180126
Jefferson175459
Woodford163826
Iroquois156825
Logan154813
McDonough154140
Fayette152528
Fulton135610
Shelby130025
Douglas128916
Jersey118723
Union112826
Montgomery107919
Crawford107710
Saline106724
Jo Daviess103817
Warren102820
Perry101423
Carroll101324
Bond98010
Pike97225
Lawrence95710
Cass93021
Hancock92312
Moultrie86010
Wayne85333
Greene78727
Clay78519
Clark75819
Edgar75016
Piatt7455
Ford71921
Richland68619
Mercer68410
Johnson6825
Mason67218
Washington6332
Jasper61812
Cumberland59416
De Witt59216
White5758
Massac5283
Wabash5038
Menard4281
Unassigned3940
Pulaski3922
Marshall3755
Hamilton3723
Brown3033
Henderson2650
Schuyler2571
Alexander2482
Putnam2360
Stark2313
Calhoun2280
Scott2230
Edwards2193
Gallatin1813
Hardin1360
Pope891
Out of IL130

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 312521

Reported Deaths: 5498
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion42641849
Lake27152455
Allen18010298
Elkhart17177221
St. Joseph16799229
Hamilton13011167
Vanderburgh9751120
Tippecanoe858727
Porter827986
Johnson6389165
Hendricks6098157
Vigo608384
Monroe536750
Clark515077
Madison5060122
Delaware4905103
LaPorte465595
Kosciusko462339
Howard344277
Warrick325672
Bartholomew316863
Floyd316277
Wayne307770
Cass299931
Marshall299144
Grant272550
Noble255046
Hancock253852
Henry247537
Boone244554
Dubois237931
Dearborn219030
Jackson215534
Morgan210843
Knox187819
Gibson186925
Shelby182155
Clinton180321
DeKalb177831
Lawrence177648
Adams168222
Miami162614
Wabash162521
Daviess156443
Fayette149234
Steuben147113
Jasper144412
Harrison142924
LaGrange142630
Montgomery142127
Whitley137114
Ripley132115
Huntington127410
Decatur126143
Putnam124627
Randolph124519
Wells124429
White123222
Clay122523
Posey122116
Jefferson118816
Scott109020
Greene102653
Jay99013
Sullivan96416
Starke92021
Jennings85314
Fulton84518
Spencer8378
Perry82521
Fountain7798
Washington7527
Franklin69927
Carroll68613
Orange67328
Vermillion6243
Owen6087
Tipton57627
Parke5706
Newton56312
Rush5438
Blackford53412
Pike50919
Pulaski39515
Martin3585
Brown3424
Benton3402
Crawford2941
Union2702
Switzerland2575
Warren2382
Ohio2317
Unassigned0266