• Earlier in the week, a prediction by Israel’s health ministry showed that up to 11 million people could likely die of COVID-19 in the US in the worst scenario.
  • As the president fiddles, people are dying’: Pelosi to Trump

Washington(ANN)-Up to 200,000 people in the United States could die of COVID-19 and millions of others be infected by the disease, the top infectious diseases expert in the US has warned.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the global pandemic could kill between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans.

“Looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. We’re going to have millions of cases,” Fauci said, noting that projections were subject to change, given that COVID-19 outbreak was “such a moving target.”

The dire prediction came as people in and around the outbreak epicenter of New York were urged to limit their travel to curb further spread of the new coronavirus.

The COVID-19 disease, caused by a new coronavirus, jumped from wildlife to people in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and is currently affecting 199 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far affected more than 701,000 people and killed over 33,170.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

As of Sunday, more than 131,360 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the US, the most of any country in the world, and over 2,320 others have lost their lives. The infectious disease appeared in the US in late January.  

Fauci said around 56 percent of the US’ new infections are coming from the New York City, whose mayor Bill de Blasio warned on Sunday that the city would need hundreds more ventilators in a few days and more masks, gowns and other supplies by April 5.

A shortage of medical supplies, particularly ventilators, in other major American cities worsened as the number of deaths crossed 2,100 on Saturday, more than double the toll from two days ago.

New Orleans will run out of ventilators around April 4 and officials in Louisiana still do not know whether they will receive any ventilators from the national stockpile, the governor said.

New Orleans, for its part, said that it would run out of ventilators around April 4.

Meanwhile, Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards said his state had tried to order 12,000 ventilators from commercial vendors and but received only 192 to date, adding that it was not clear whether they would receive any ventilators from the national stockpile.

“We haven’t yet been approved for ventilators out of the national stockpile. I continue to press that case and I hope we will be cut in for a slice of what they have left. It is the one thing that really keeps me up at night,” he added.

Doctors and medical staff are particularly concerned about the lack of ventilators and breathing machines needed by many of patients suffering from the pneumonia-like respiratory issues.

“We’re trying to keep our heads above water without drowning. We are scared. We’re trying to fight for everyone else’s life, but we also fight for our lives as well,” said Dr. Arabia Mollette, an emergency medicine physician at Brookdale and St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu has killed between 12,000 and 61,000 people in the US since 2010. The 1918-19 flu pandemic claimed the lives of 675,000 others in the US.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has harshly blasted President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in the country, saying his delay and denial has had “deadly” consequences for the Americans.

“The president’s denial at the beginning was deadly,” Pelosi told CNN in an interview on Sunday. “His delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed is deadly … As the president fiddles, people are dying.”

Asked if she was saying Trump’s early downplaying of the severity of the coronavirus crisis had “cost American lives,” the House speaker replied, “Yes I am. I’m saying that.”

More than 2,000 coronavirus deaths were confirmed in the US on Sunday, among about 125,000 confirmed cases, the most in any country.

Asked about her thoughts on the Trump administration’s considering of relaxing restrictions for the less-affected parts of the country, Pelosi said Washington “should be taking every precaution.”

“I don’t know what the purpose of that is,” she said, adding that had no idea what the scientists were telling Trump.

“We still don’t have adequate testing,” Pelosi said. “And we still don’t have protective equipment for our health workers who are risking their own lives to save lives.”

Since the virus first appeared in the US in late January, Trump has wavered between playing down the risks of infection and calling on Americans to take steps to slow its spread.

The American president has also been reluctant to invoke emergency powers to order US companies to produce much-needed medical supplies, despite the pleas of governors and hospital workers.

Trump also appeared to soften his previous remarks insisting on the US economy to be reopened by mid-April. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.

800k doctors ask Trump not to lift restrictions

Meanwhile, a council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the US signed a letter on Friday and urged Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12.

The signatories warned that the president’s disregard for the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“Significant COVID-19 transmission continues across the United States, and we need your leadership in supporting science-based recommendations on social distancing that can slow the virus,” the council wrote. “Statewide efforts alone will not sufficiently control this public health crisis.”

The physicians also wrote that rather than treating the pandemic as a partisan issue, the US president must follow the guidance of public health experts and encourage all Americans to do the same.

“Federal, state, and local governments should only set a date for lifting nationwide social distancing restrictions consistent with assessments by public health and medical experts,” the letter read. “Lifting restrictions sooner will gravely jeopardize the health of all Americans and extend the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and territories, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

the virus has infected more than 680,000, people worldwide, including more than 124,200 in the United States. They have killed 3 31,700 , including 2,100 in the United States.