US President Donald Trump speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2020. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump says his country would be doing "a very good job" if it can hold the number of coronavirus deaths at or below 100,000.
Speaking an evening news conference at the White House on Sunday, Trump conceded the deaths in the United States from coronavirus could reach 100,000 or more.
Trump also extended the national social distancing guidelines to April 30th.
Trump said he received the "most accurate" or "most comprehensive" study today about the potential death toll from the COVID-19 which has already killed more than 34,000 and infected 722,000 across the world.
The US president said there could be up more than 2 million infections if "we did nothing".
"When I heard the number today. First time I heard that number, because I have been asking the same question to some people. I felt even better about what we did last week with the $2.2 trillion dollars," Trump said referring to the stimulus package passed by Congress last week.
"Because you are talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million and some people said it could even be higher than that. You are talking about 2.2 million deaths. 2.2 million people from this," Trump said.
Trumpís announcement contradicted his previous remarks that he wanted the country to reopen for business by Easter.
Earlier, the director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned that the country could experience up to 200,000 deaths and millions of infections.
"Looking at what weíre seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. Weíre going to have millions of cases," Dr. Anthony Fauci said, noting that projections were subject to change, given that COVID-19 outbreak was "such a moving target."
Over the past weeks, Trump had downplayed the escalating national crisis multiple times, but now the US has become the hotbed of the pandemic.
So far, more than 24,00 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the US with over 142,000 confirmed cases.
Trump accuses hospitals of hoarding ventilators
Meanwhile, Trump accused hospitals on Sunday of hoarding ventilators that are in shortage in the country, urging hospitals to release them.
"We have some healthcare workers, some hospitals ... hoarding equipment including ventilators," Trump said at the White House after holding a meeting with corporate executives.
"We have to release those ventilators - especially hospitals that are never going to use them," he added.
Coronavirus hits US prisons
The spread of the coronavirus has accelerated in prisons in the United States. The coronavirus outbreak has swept through New Yorkís Rikers Island jail system.
Prisoners have no access to gloves or proper masks and have only cold water to wash their hands, an inmate told the Reuters news agency.
"We are pleading with officers" for better defenses, he said. "They just shrug. In the end, we are just inmates, second-class citizens. We are like livestock."
US crude oil price falls below $20
US crude oil prices fell to 20 dollars a barrel, close to their lowest level in 18 years, following the collapse in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dipped below $20 per barrel to $19.90 on Sunday, losing more than 6 percent.
Key Asian markets started the week on Monday with fresh losses as investors cashed in amid uncertainties over a prolonged global shutdown for the coronavirus outbreak.
SOURCE: PRESS TV