President Donald Trump predicted that between this week and next will “probably be the toughest week” of the coronavirus outbreak replete with “a lot of death.”
In many states, the peak of the virus is expected weeks in the future, though Doctor Deborah Birx said that the outbreaks in Louisiana, Detroit and New York are all on track to hit their worst point in the next six to seven days.
Aside from the grim prognosis, Trump spent much of the press briefing bashing unnamed governors for hoarding equipment, bashing the media for spreading “fear” and “panic” and bashing a recently-relieved Naval captain for writing a letter about the bleak conditions on his ship.
Trump blamed a faceless group of governors for asking for more ventilators than they needed, then claiming that they didn’t receive enough. “It’s politics and it’s unfortunate, because we can’t play that game,” he said, adding that the governors will “admit” their machinations “when this thing is over.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whose state has been particularly hard hit, has been scrambling to fill the gap in critical equipment, and on Saturday said he’s poised to bring in 1,100 ventilators from Oregon and China. Trump has routinely claimed that governors’ ventilator requests are inflated.
The President also gave a characteristically rosy prediction of drug therapies that are in their testing phases, and about which other members of the coronavirus response team have been more reserved.
“Hydroxychloroquine is a drug they use to treat lupus. It could be a game changer,” Trump said. “I heard people with lupus aren’t as effected by the virus. Maybe that’s true, maybe that’s false, you’ll have to check it out.”
He applied his seemingly unfounded optimism to opening the country back up as well, something he said many times must be done “soon.” He added that he brought up making a public gatherings allowance for people to attend mass on Easter.
During the extremely lengthy press conference, the President also diverted from the pandemic to riff on other topics.
Trump applauded the Navy’s decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier of his duty after Crozier wrote a letter describing the conditions on his ship, as coronavirus ravaged the sailors on board.
“I thought it was terrible what he did,” Trump said of Crozier’s writing the letter, adding that he agrees with the decision made by top Naval brass.
He mocked former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, though not by name, for dropping his long-shot primary challenge, and said that former Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t be able to understand the briefing if he was watching.
“We are really coming up to a time that’s going to be very horrendous. I don’t think we’ve seen a time like this in our country,” Trump said to conclude his press conference. “Unfortunately, we’re getting to that time when the numbers are going to peak. It’s not gonna be a good-looking situation.”