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Trump: 'Horrific' Days Ahead as Death Toll Surges 1,000 in a Single Day, Unemployment Spikes

President Donald Trump pauses during a briefing about the coronavirus at the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With now more than 216,000 cases in the US and over 5,100 deaths, President Trump says that the worst is probably still to come in America's battle with the coronavirus. It's not just the rising toll of human lives, the economic impact could also be catastrophic for everyone.

"Difficult days are ahead for our nation," Trump said at Wednesday's White House Coronavirus Taskforce briefing. "We are going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific."

There were more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day Wednesday, more than double the deaths seen on any given day from the flu. 

On the economic front, a huge jump in new unemployment claims was announced Thursday morning – a new record high of 6.6 million people who just lost their jobs because of the shutdowns.

And, unfortunately, there's more bad news: The federal government has nearly depleted its emergency stockpile of protective medical supplies like masks, gowns, and gloves.

The president said the federal government is "sending it directly to hospitals. We don't want to send it to the stockpiles because then we have to take it."

More than 285 million Americans live in states where stay at home orders are in place.

Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi have joined at least 42 other states ordering residents to stay at home, but the president is not yet ready to issue similar, nationwide restrictions.

"There are some states that don't have much of a problem," Trump said. 

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Meanwhile, the city of Los Angeles is now recommending citizens wear face masks in public. 

In hard-hit New York City, the death toll is past 1,300 and climbing as the peak is still weeks away. A video tour of New York's Mount Sinai Queens hospital showed the hallways lined with new patients. 

Vice President Mike Pence says he expects the worst of the pandemic will be over by Memorial Day, still almost two months away.  

Officials say even with social distancing guidelines in place, up to a quarter of a million Americans could die from the pandemic, but they stress that those numbers can come down the more people comply with orders to stay inside and limit contact.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked how long social distancing could last. "When it goes down to essentially no new cases, no new deaths at a period of time," Fauci replied.

And more evidence is emerging that coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says anyone exposed to the disease may be a carrier, whether that person has symptoms or not. 


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