CNBC – President Joe Biden has painted a bleak picture of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak in his first few days in office, warning that it will take months to turn around the pandemic’s trajectory and that fatalities are expected to dramatically rise over the next few weeks.
On Friday before signing two executive orders designed to reduce hunger and bolster workers’ rights amid the pandemic, Biden said:
“A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead expected to reach well over 600,000,”
The U.S. surpassed 400,000 total Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, with a quarter of those coming over the previous 36 days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
On Biden’s first full day as president on Thursday, he told reporters following a meeting with his Covid-19 advisors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, that the nation would likely top 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in February.
Biden warned on Friday that as the outbreak continues, “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.”
The president has repeatedly warned that the situation is likely to worsen before it improves.
While it wasn’t immediately made clear what projections Biden was referencing, one key projection from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that the U.S. could reach 600,000 Covid-19 deaths by March if states were to ease social distancing mandates.
However, the model’s current projections show Covid-19 deaths plateauing just above 560,000 Covid-19 deaths by late April.
A spokesperson for the Biden administration was not immediately available for comment regarding the president’s projections.
The United States has reported a decline in Covid-19 cases in recent days, a glimmer of hope following a surge since the fall and through the winter holiday season.
The U.S. is reporting an average of roughly 187,593 new Covid-19 cases daily, a 22% decline compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data.