Trump says he thinks U.S. loss of life from coronavirus will be less than projected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he thinks the United States will lose fewer than the 100,000 lives initially projected to the coronavirus, and suggested the country is nearing its peak infection rate.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with Vice President Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus response daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

At a White House briefing, Trump said the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is flattening, and said the situations in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Detroit, Michigan, are stabilizing.

U.S. deaths from the the virus topped 18,100 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally.

Trump said there were signs the aggressive social distancing and stay-at-home measures taken to combat the coronavirus were showing signs of success, even as leaders cautioned the faithful not to gather in churches on the Easter Sunday holiday.

Trump said he was getting fewer calls from governors urgently seeking equipment and help.

“We’re in great shape in every way. We’re in great shape with ventilators, we’re in great shape with protective clothing, we have additional planeloads coming in. But we’re not getting any calls from governors at this moment,” he said.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House task force on the coronavirus, said the United States was starting to flatten the curve the way Italy did, with a lot of the success coming in New York City.

Officials have pointed to declining rates of coronavirus hospitalizations and need for intensive care in hard-hit New York as signs that social distancing measures are paying off.

“You can see for the first time in the United States we’re starting to level on the logarithmic phase like Italy did about a week ago. This gives us great heart, not only in specific places, but we’re starting to see that change,” she said.

She said they are still seeing cases occurring in Boston and Chicago but their rate of increases seem to be stabilizing.

Reporting by Amanda Becker and Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler and Chizu Nomiyama

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