As the number of U.S. deaths to the coronavirus continues to rise, President Trump echoed a claim on Sunday that the total number of Americans to fall victim to the coronavirus could be up to 100,000.
As of Monday morning, the coronavirus has already killed more than 67,000 Americans. According to Our World In Data the current death toll is 67,682. Worldometers reports slightly more deaths, at 68,715.
“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” Trump said during a two-hour virtual town hall with Fox News. “That’s a horrible thing.”
Reuters reports Trump also said he was soon expecting an ending to the coronavirus and a reopening of the country.
“We can’t stay closed as a country (or) we’re not gonna have a country left,” Trump said.
The president said a reopening could coincide with the development of a vaccine, which he predicted would happen by the end of the year.
“I think we’re going to have a vaccine by the end of the year. The doctors would say, well you shouldn’t say that,” Trump said per the report. “I’ll say what I think … I think we’ll have a vaccine sooner than later.”
Here’s more, from Reuters:
Trump also said he wanted students to return to schools and colleges in the autumn, even as he acknowledged the possibility of a resurgence of the disease.
“We’ll put out the embers, we’ll put out whatever it may be. We may have to put out a fire,” he said.
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Speaking the day before the Senate returns to Washington, Trump said it was possible that federal coronavirus aid could rise to $6 trillion from the nearly $3 trillion Congress has already passed to try to ease the heavy economic toll of the crisis.
“There is more help coming. There has to be,” he said.
Democrats have made clear they want to provide a sizable rescue package for state and local governments as part of a broader bill – one that could total over $2 trillion – while some Republicans criticized the idea as unreasonably expensive.
Trump said his priority was on getting a payroll tax cut passed before a larger deal: “We will be doing infrastructure and I told Steve (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) just today we are not doing anything unless we get a payroll tax cut.”