President Donald Trump sent a message of hope to the United States on Palm Sunday, as the coronavirus continued to ravage the health of the American people and their economy.
The commander in chief told Americans in a Sunday evening presser that there is “light at the end of the tunnel,” the Washington Examiner reported, even as he warned Americans to prepare for a solemn week of suffering that his top doctor compared to Pearl Harbor. The president and his team pointed to signs that the “curve” is flattening out in far-away Italy and in New York in their Sunday remarks, which came just a day before the number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 10,000 nationwide, according to Reuters.
“We see light at the end of the tunnel. Things are happening. Things are happening. We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said at the White House, according to the Examiner.
“Light at the end of the tunnel”
As of Monday, April 6, some 7,000 Americans had died of COVID-19 since the previous Monday, according to CBS News, and at least 10 million had filed for unemployment overall, NPR reported, as “stay at home” orders leave businesses shuttered and economic activity at an unnatural rest. With the death toll approaching 10,000, the president didn’t mince words about the days of suffering ahead.
“In the days ahead, America will endure the peak of this terrible pandemic,” Trump said Sunday, according to the Examiner. “Our warriors in this life and death battle and the incredible doctors and nurses and health care workers on the frontline of the fight. We pledge to them our eternal gratitude and everlasting support.”
At the same time, the president pointed to signs of optimism amid the darkness. More than 1.67 million Americans have now been tested, despite inheriting a “broken” system, Trump said, and the virus may be “leveling off” in hotspots like New York, which recorded a drop in new deaths and cases Sunday, the BBC reported. The state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, also said Monday that the curve could be “flattening” as the death rate remained unchanged for two days, according to CBS. The epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., New York has roughly half the nation’s deaths and about 30% of infections.
Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that the pandemic may be tapering off in hard-hit European nations like Italy as well. “We’re hopeful over the next week that we’ll see a stabilization of cases in these metropolitan areas where the outbreak began several weeks ago,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
America braces for another week of tragedy
America surpassed 10,000 deaths Monday morning, and the White House estimates up to 240,000 American deaths total, even with mitigation of social contact. For his part, the surgeon general of the United States, Jerome Adams, has likened the coming devastation to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, even as he said that “there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days.”
“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” he told Fox News on Sunday, according to the BBC. “It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”
The messages add a new solemnity to an already somber week for Christians in America and around the world, many of whom were left to observe Palm Sunday in the isolation of their homes. Some churches held services, in defiance of government orders to maintain social distancing, Reuters noted.
As America shutters, many in the media have rebuked Trump for his optimism about triumphing over the virus, with many outlets accusing the president of downplaying the threat and offering “false hope” with the experimental drug chloroquine. But a clip of Trump’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying that the virus was not a serious threat in January has gone viral recently, and journalists have shifted tone on chloroquine as a poll of doctors found the drug “very effective,” Fox News’ Gregg Re reports.