Not all White House Press Briefings are of equal importance. But yesterday’s was one of the most informative so far due to the staggering potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19. It was presented by Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.1 They projected that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could succumb to COVID-19—if they carefully follow CDC guidance for social distancing, quarantines, and hand sanitation.2 If Americans do not scrupulously adhere to these guidelines, then the death toll could be up to ten times higher.
The projected number of American deaths is an estimate based on mathematical models. Models are based on assumptions, and if the government’s assumptions did not accurately account for measures that have been in place almost nationwide for several weeks, then it could overestimate the death rate. Nevertheless, American deaths in the hundreds of thousands ought to be a serious attention-grabbing warning.
President Trump sensed the ominous threat of COVID-19 disease to those in the United States and warned of a “very painful two weeks” facing the nation. Because many parts of the country have not yet experienced anything close to the full-force of the pandemic, the window of pain nationwide will be longer than two weeks.
Another important topic discussed was whether Americans could benefit from widespread usage of facemasks when going out in public, as observed in Asian countries like South Korea and Japan. More information will be coming from the CDC and U.S. Surgeon General within one or two days. For preparation purposes, I believe that a positive benefit will be determined.
The take-home message is that Americans must be all the more vigilant in reducing potential contact with asymptomatic infected individuals out in the community. The best way to do that is to remain isolated in your home for those who are not essential personnel in vital occupations, and to minimize the number of excursions outside your home to get necessities.
Our struggle to not get ill from COVID-19 has been compared to a war effort. The Bible teaches a lot about war and King David said that the Lord “teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”3 The CDC guidelines are currently the best way for all of us to make war against COVID-19.
1. O’Reilly, A. White House projects 100K to 240K coronavirus deaths as Trump tells US to prepare for ‘very painful two weeks.’ Fox News. Published on foxnews.com March 31, 2020, accessed March 31, 2020.
2. Important information on preventing COVID-19, caring for a sick family member and frequently asked questions can be downloaded here.
3. Psalm 18:34.
*Randy Guliuzza is ICR’s National Representative. He earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Minnesota, his Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and served in the U.S. Air Force as 28th Bomb Wing Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Dr. Guliuzza is also a registered Professional Engineer.
White House Briefing on Potential Virus Casualties
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