Just weeks ago, President Donald Trump suggested that COVID-19 could leave up to 60,000 Americans dead. Now, with more than 1.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nearly 65,000 dead from the disease, according to NBC News, the president is revising his numbers.
“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75–, 80– to 100 thousand,” Trump predicted, according to The Hill. “That’s a horrible thing.
“We shouldn’t lose one person over this,” the president added, arguing that the viral outbreak “should’ve been stopped in China.”
A tragic toll
Trump also told Fox on Sunday that the American “public has been incredible” with their adherence to social distancing measures and other orders intended to curb the spread of the viral disease. “That’s one of the reasons we’re successful,” the president remarked, according to The Hill. “If you call losing 80 or 90,000 people successful.
“But it’s one of the reasons that we’re not at the high end of the plane, as opposed to the low end of the plane,” he said.
Members of the Trump administration have previously suggested that the death toll in America from COVID-19 could be as high as 200,000, Vox notes.
“It’s going up,” Trump conceded Sunday, according to The Hill. “I used to say 65,000. Now I’m saying 80 or 90 [thousand], and it goes up and it goes up rapidly. But it’s still going to be, no matter how you look at it, at the lower end of the plane if we did the shutdown.”
A vaccine in the works
Later in his Fox interview, Trump reported that substantial work is being put into developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.
“We are very confident that we are going to have a vaccine by the end of the year,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “We’re pushing very hard.”
The president also touted his decision to limit travel from China and Europe in the early days of the pandemic, a move that former Vice President Joe Biden initially condemned, but has since come to embrace.
He also had some choice words for the World Health Organization (WHO). “The World Health Organization has been a disaster,” Trump said Sunday, according to Fox. “Everything they’ve said was wrong. And they’re China-centric. They agree with China, whatever China wants to do… They missed every single call.”