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Coronavirus testing czar predicts US deaths in pandemic may begin to decline “in a few weeks”



One of the Trump administration’s top advisers on coronavirus told The Daily Briefing on Friday that the death toll in the United States should begin to decline soon, although he warned Americans still need to take precautions such as wearing masks.

“What you are seeing right now is that the degree of positivity is down, the number of cases is starting to fall, hospital admissions are declining,” Assistant Secretary of Health Admiral Brett Giroir told host Dana Perino.

“But the unfortunate, sad fact is that mortality, deaths will be delayed for a couple of weeks,” he added. “So I make no promises here, but if all goes well, we should start to see the death toll drop in a couple of weeks.

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“And then it̵

7;s up to us,” Giroir continued. “If we do what we know so well now that it works – we have evidence on top of evidence that simple masking, if everyone does, can completely reverse this – then we will not see [any new increases]. But if we do not do that, until we get a vaccine, 90 percent of the population is still at risk of getting this virus and it can be catastrophic if we do not take the measures we ask for. “

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COVID-19 deaths do not move in perfect locking step with the infection curve, for the simple reason that it can take weeks to get sick and die from the virus. The virus has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the United States and killed more than 500,000 others around the world.

Giroir’s comments came on the same day as he and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before a House subcommittee on the pandemic.

Like Giroir, Fauci has stressed the need to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus, recommend universal masking, closing bars and avoiding crowds.

“I think if we do it a couple of weeks in a row … I think we’ll see a turnaround because we know it’s working,” Fauci told PBS NewsHour earlier this month.

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Anchor Judy Woodruff pushed back, arguing that the Americans had heard that message but it “does not work.”

Fauci responded by claiming that the efforts had been “a little spotty.”

“It has not been uniform,” he added, “where everyone in that region says, ‘Wait a minute, we have a serious problem. We need to restart this. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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