US officials, researchers urge social distancing

US officials, researchers urge social distancing

A man wears a face mask while the USNS Comfort and the Empire State Building are seen from Weehawken, New Jersey, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, US, March 31, 2020.NEW YORK – US officials and researchers have been urging people to follow social distancing guidelines as a total of 189,035 COVID-19 cases and 3,900 deaths were reported in the United States as of Tuesday night.

Nearly one-third of the deaths occurred in the New York State, the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Health experts on the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Tuesday that even with the Trump administration’s national social distancing guidelines in place, Americans still should be prepared for the prospect of the coronavirus causing 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the country.

At a White House press briefing, Deborah Birx, the task force’s response coordinator, said as many as 1.5 million to 2.2 million people will succumb to COVID-19 if no mitigation measures whatsoever are taken to contain the virus.

“There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” Birx said, urging people to act according to the administration’s social distancing strategy, which has been extended to April 30. Those behaviors, Birx added, could change “the course of the viral pandemic.”

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