President Trump urged Americans that it’s time for “ironclad resolve” to help flatten the spread of coronavirus to keep the deaths from spiraling beyond 100,000 — especially over the next two brutal weeks.

“Our strength will be tested, and our endurance will be tried. But America will answer with love, courage and ironclad resolve,” Trump said Tuesday from the White House. “This is the time for all Americans to come together and do our part.”

The public health officials on the White House coronavirus task force are projecting 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the highly contagious disease, with the peak coming in the next few weeks.

“We got to brace ourselves. In the next several days to a week or so, we’re going to continue to see things go up,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working, and will work.”

Americans should “step on the accelerator” with social restrictions, Fauci said. People are working from home, schools are closed, patrons can’t eat at restaurants, and gatherings have been canceled.

When asked if Americans should be prepared for the likelihood that 100,000 people in the U.S. die from the virus, Fauci responded, “The answer is yes.

“As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” he said. “Is it going to be that much? I hope not, and I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it would be that number. But as being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves that that’s a possibility.”

If social distancing guidelines had not been put in place to slow the spread, between 1.5 million and 2.2 million people in the U.S. could have died, the public health experts said.

Trump urged Americans to follow the social distancing guidelines, calling it a “matter of life and death, frankly.”

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”

Nearly 4,000 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus as of Tuesday. New York is the top coronavirus hotspot with 1,550 deaths so far. More than 180,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed across the country.

In Massachusetts, 89 people have died from coronavirus, and there have been 6,620 confirmed cases.

The peak of deaths in Massachusetts is expected to hit in mid-April, with about 60 deaths per day from April 13 to April 20, according to epidemiologists from the University of Washington. The total coronavirus deaths in the Bay State projected out to early August is 1,507 deaths, the researchers predict.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said the 100,000 to 240,000 fatality number across the country could go down if people limit social interactions.

“We really believe we can do a lot better than that,” Birx said.

Herald wire services were used in this report.


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