Trump, speaking at a virtual “town hall” televised by Fox News on May 3, lamented his revised expected death count.
“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80, to 100,000 people,” he said. “That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this.”
The numbers are an upward revision from earlier estimates.
“I used to say 65,000,” Trump said, adding that the death toll would be much higher if not for the mitigation and containment measures adopted by his administration.
“If we didn’t do it, the minimum we would have lost is a million-two, a million-four, a million-five, that’s the minimum. We would have lost probably higher than—it’s possible higher than 2.2” million, he said.
Commenting on COVID-19 containment strategies, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, told a press briefing on April 22 that the administration’s “successful formula” had flattened the pandemic curve somewhat.
“We were starting to see some turnaround, some flattening, and some coming down,” Fauci said of infection and death counts nationwide.
“So what has happened is that the mitigation that we put in with the first 15 days and then the 30-day mitigation program of physical distancing worked,” he said. “So it got us to where we are today. It is a successful formula. It is the basis for our being able to say that we can now think seriously about reopening America.”
While highlighting that the economic restart of the nation would need to be done safely, Trump struck a note of urgency at the town hall on May 3. “We have to open our country,” he said.
“We have to get it back open safely, but as quickly as possible.”
Trump also took questions from viewers, including one who asked what he tells his children and grandchildren about COVID-19.
He said he tells them, “A terrible thing has happened. … Something has happened, but we’re going to be strong, and we’re going to get out of it, and our country is going to be bigger and better and stronger than ever before.”