Why President Trump Changed His Tone on the Coronavirus

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The US now has more than forty five hundred reporting corona virus cases but the actual total could be much higher at least ninety people have died the US response to the deadly virus lags behind other developed countries. That is what the experts are saying. Life outside the home or apartment has virtually shut down. Schools and businesses are closed and the social fabric has been badly frayed. There are still worries based on the experience of other countries like Italy which is effectively on a total lockdown for a week that it might not be enough I'm Sheri Fink. I'm a correspondent at the New York Times in the Investigations Unit. I often report about healthcare. And I've been covering the corona virus and in recent weeks. There has been a lot of focus on how president trump communicates about this outbreak and the level of risk that it posed for the United States. It's going to disappear one day. It's like a miracle it will disappear and from our shores. We you know it could get worse before it gets better. Baby go away. We'll see what happens. Nobody really knows the fact. The president's tone started to change probably in the last week or so but it really seemed to change on Monday. WanNa thank everybody for being here today. There was this press conference. The president got on a podium with the members of the vice. Presidents Corona virus taskforce around him afternoon. We're announcing new guidelines for every American to follow over the next fifteen days as we combat the virus each and every one of us has a critical role to play and he announced that there would be a fifteen day period where Americans should observe some important new precautions to try to slow the virus therefore my administration is recommending that all Americans including the young and healthy work to engage in schooling from home when possible avoid gathering in groups of more than ten people avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating drinking at bars restaurants and public food courts. This really struck a lot of people as a real change in tone and content. What we do and I've spoken actually with my sunny says. How bad is this? It's bad it's bad but we're going to. We're going to be hopefully a best case worst case and that's what we're working for and so the latest is that we now know a big part of what may have led to that change in tone and to the new recommendations. It was a new report out of London by disease models. People who study how epidemic spread that was shared with the White House and it showed that if nothing was done by the government and regular citizens to stop the transmission of the virus that in fact there could be two point two million deaths in the United States and what they said to combat that to stop this just almost unimaginable death toll. From a new virus two point two million they said that two types of interventions would be needed to types of steps. One set of steps is sort of the basic public health steps. You test for people who might have the virus you tell them to stay home you isolate them or they go into the hospital. All of their close contacts. Stay away from everybody else. For fourteen days and also keeping older people people with chronic health conditions away from other people so their disease modeling showed that that would only cut the death toll by about half and so they also recommended these disruptive steps to really distance the entire population very much in the ways that were recommended by the White House and only those two steps together the model or showed would have a very very significant impact. The other surprising thing about this report was that it wasn't talking about fifteen days. It was saying that you might need to do that. Intermittently at least until you had a vaccine which we know could take twelve to eighteen months and keep in mind their guidelines. Nobody's forced to do this. Will Americans follow them? How much effect will they have? This remains to be seen. But if measures aren't effective there will be a surge in patients all of the model. Show this so. The question is is our health care system ready in many ways. We already know that we're not we know we don't have enough ventilators. We don't have enough people to run those ventilators even if we had more machines so there is a need for real attention right now to expand the resources as much as possible in our healthcare system substituting. Conserving things that we're hearing about starting to go on so that there will be at least some more capacity while we also hopefully take these steps as Americans to cut the transmission and slow the spread and lessen the load on the healthcare system. So that we don't get in a situation where doctors have to choose. Who GETS CARE? So that's the latest.

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