Coronavirus pandemic: Trump says ‘plague’ may kill 200,000 Americans

After weeks of trying to play down the pandemic, Donald Trump finally admitted the US was facing a “very, very painful two weeks” and called the virus a plague. At the White House yesterday, as America’s death toll passed 4,000, a grave looking Mr Trump extended social distancing rules for 30 days. Mr Trump also criticised Britain’s initial Covid-19 plan.

Before the UK’s shift in strategy, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said around 60 percent of the people would need to become infected to have “herd immunity”.

Mr Trump said: “If you remember, they were looking at that concept – I guess it’s a concept if you don’t mind death, a lot of death – but they were looking at that in the UK. They put themselves in a little bit of a problem. They have a name for it, but we won’t even go by the name – it would have been very catastrophic I think, if that would have happened.” 

He added: “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. This is going to be a very, very painful two weeks.”

The US has the highest number of recorded cases in the world and health chiefs say the death toll is likely to be between 100,000 and 200,000. Without restrictions it could hit 2.2 million.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent the US a large consignment of personal protection equipment and medical supplies. The number of deaths in Spain has passed 9,000. Germany had its biggest daily jump for two days running, with 149 new fatalities.

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