Reaction and analysis from Fox News medical contributors Drs. Marc Siegel and Janette Nesheiwat.
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An aide for Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar blamed President Trump’s “mismanagement” this week for the projected deaths of up to 240,000 Americans due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“100,000-240,000 Americans are projected to die because of Donald Trump’s mismanagement,” Jeremy Slevin wrote in a tweet three times late Tuesday, just hours after the president and the White House warned that the U.S. could see that range of deaths due to COVID-19.
Omar, D-Minn., retweeted Slevin’s tweet, despite having praised at least part of the president’s response, specifically on the economic end, last month.
Omar, while an outspoken critic of the president throughout his administration and her term in Congress, earlier had praised Trump’s handling, calling it “incredible and the right response in this critical time” — specifically in reference to the president announcing the suspension of mortgage foreclosures and seeking cash payments to Americans.
“We should never let politics get in the way of good policy,” Omar said earlier this month. “This is a great start and hope others will be part of a united front to push for good policies that will help us work through the economic anxiety the country is feeling right now.”
But many Democrats have also accused Trump of being too slow to acknowledge the severity of the COVID-19 crisis, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives in the U.S. as of Thursday morning and infected more than 189,000 Americans.
Democrats have also slammed the president for not moving quickly enough to implement testing, send Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to those on the front lines, and send ventilators to hospitals across the nation.
The White House coronavirus task force, meanwhile, has pleaded with Americans to abide by the administration’s extended social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.
During Tuesday’s briefing, the president himself told Americans to brace for “a very painful two weeks and warned of thousands more virus-related deaths.
“The surge is coming, and it’s coming pretty strong,” Trump said Tuesday night, in a change of tone from previous press briefings.
“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said. “As a nation, we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
At another point, Trump said: “This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is going to be a very bad two or maybe even three weeks. This is going to be three weeks like we’ve never seen before.”
The extension of the social distancing guidelines comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other public health officials ominously warned that even if the U.S. were to continue to do what it was doing — keeping the economy closed and most Americans in their homes — the coronavirus could still leave 100,000 to 240,000 people in the United States dead and millions infected.
Without any measures in place to mitigate the contagion’s spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.
“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” Trump said during the briefing. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
The new “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines — unveiled at the press conference — are an extension of the strategy the White House implemented just over two weeks ago and include guidance on social distancing, working from home, washing hands frequently, and avoiding any unnecessary travel.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.