President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is likely to "get worse before it gets better".
"It's something I don't like to say about things, but that's the way it is, we have it," he said during a White House briefing on the pandemic. "You see over the world, it's all over the world."
Trump's comments come as the corona virus continues to spread rapidly across the country. The virus infected more than 3.8 million Americans on Tuesday and killed at least 141,118 people, according to Johns Hopkins University. Texas and Florida hit a bleak record of coronavirus daily deaths on Monday, based on a seven-day moving average, as hospitalization in 34 states continues to increase in the United States.
Trump's response to the pandemic has also been increasingly scrutinized. In recent weeks, Trump has downplayed the virus threat and has linked the surge in new cases to an increase in testing. Public health officials and infectious disease experts disagree with these claims, however, saying that the rate of cases that tested positive in the United States remains hospitalization and deaths high in some states.
A coronavirus model once cited by the White House predicts that by November 1, more than 220,000 Americans could die from Covid-19 as new cases in parts of the country hit record highs and restrictions on virus containment are lifted.
Trump said Tuesday that US heads of state are "working very, very hard" and that the state of Florida is "in a very difficult situation." He said the federal government is helping to provide its "vast" supply of respiratory equipment, robes, and other medical devices needed by hospitals. He said some governors said they had enough bed capacity.
"In the beginning people never had such an experience where we needed so many ventilators so quickly," he said. "The doctors, nurses, and helpers have become incredibly good at using ventilators. It's actually a really complicated process."
He said he would not call for a nationwide shutdown and said this was "totally unsustainable, would lead to a weakening economic relapse and catastrophic public health consequences, there are consequences for shutdowns." He said the U.S. was initially closed only to prevent hospital overflow and enable the U.S. to meet the needs of the global pandemic, including ventilators.
"We may have saved millions of lives with the first shutdowns, but we are now very aware of this disease," he said. "We understand the disease to a large extent. Maybe nobody will ever fully understand it. But we will get a cure, we will get therapeutics, we will get a vaccine very soon."
"A permanent shutdown has never really been an option in relation to what we're doing," he added.
Trump pointed to the country's coronavirus testing and said the U.S. is the world leader with nearly 50 million tests. "We are doing a tremendous amount of testing," he said, adding that he would agree to do more. "I don't think any president or government has achieved so much."
He reiterated his claim that the virus would "go away", according to public health officials and infectious disease experts. Experts, including those at disease control and prevention centers, have warned of cases and deaths could increase this fall.
"The virus will go away. It will go away," Trump said.