US President Donald Trump has changed his view of the coronavirus pandemic. During a press conference, he prepared the Americans for up to 200,000 deaths. If we can limit the death toll to 100,000 through containment measures, "then we all did a good job together," he said in the White House. He also announced that the measures to contain the crisis would be extended until April 30. Actually, the adopted guidelines should only apply until the end of March.

Trump justified the extension of the protective measures with a study by the Imperial College in London, which had already been published on March 16. The analysis estimated 2.2 million deaths in the United States if no measures were taken to contain the virus. The situation in the state of New York, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, is particularly worrying. Local authorities had repeatedly warned that the capacities of the hospitals there were not even ready to infect large sections of the population. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio painted a dramatic picture of the situation in the metropolis on Sunday. "Here in New York it literally feels like it was in wartime," he said. But Chicago and New Orleans are also increasingly affected.

A few days ago, Trump had said that he wanted to see the United States largely back in normal operation by Easter Sunday - in two weeks. Ten days ago he had downplayed the situation and ignored facts and science. Now he said, "Nothing would be worse than proclaiming victory before victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of everything."

Deborah Birx, a doctor at the Coronavirus Working Group in the White House, said current predictions also included containment measures ranging from 80,000 to 160,000 deaths in the United States, potentially more than 200,000. "This model fully assumes that we will continue to do exactly what we do." She added, "We hope these models are not quite right. That we can do better than these predictions are."

Peak possibly in two weeks

Trump said in Washington that he expects the number of deaths in the U.S. crisis to peak in two weeks. In view of this, it is particularly important that everyone follows the guidelines. The better they were implemented, "the faster this nightmare will end," said the US President.

The measures provide for people to keep their distance from one another and to avoid the accumulation of more than ten people. Restaurants, cafes and bars should only offer food and drinks for take-away or delivery. Trump was optimistic that the worst could be over by summer. "We can expect to be on the road to recovery by June 1st."

In the space of 24 hours, the death toll in the US on Sunday evening had increased by 518 to 2,409. According to the Johns Hopkins University, almost 140,000 infections had been registered by then.