Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the statewide “stay at home” orders could last into June for the majority of Americans.
Already, one in four Americans living in states like California, New York, Illinois, and Texas are under essential lockdown, with the closure of non-essential businesses and a ban on large gatherings.
According to AP, Top Trump administration officials and congressional leaders struggled Monday to finalize a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package as the coronavirus crisis deepened, even as President Donald Trump seemed to suggest he had qualms about extending the current 15-day suggested shutdown.
But Mnuchin also said the Trump administration is committed to supporting American businesses and workers with loans and other assistance.
“We want all small businesses to keep employees so that they can reopen those businesses quickly when it's medically sufficient,” Mnuchin told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Monday morning.
He reiterated that any small business with fewer than 500 employees is eligible for a loan amounting to two months of payroll and some overhead and that it will be forgiven if the company keeps its workers or rehires them.
On “CBS This Morning,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said as he warned the numbers will get worse this week. “I didn’t expect to be starting off my week with such a dire message for America. Things are going to get worse before they get better. We really need everyone to understand this...and lean into what they can do to flatten the curve.”
POTUS recently tweeted "we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself." Is there any chance that at the end of the 15-day period we're going to go back to anything like normal?— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 23, 2020
"We know it's going to be a while before life gets back to normal." -- @Surgeon_General pic.twitter.com/cey7jlvLSP
Globally, the coronavirus has infected 349,000 people and killed 15,300, yielding a fatality rate of 4.4 percent.
Italy has been particularly hard hit with over 59,000 confirmed cases and 5,476 deaths. That makes a pretty grim fatality rate of 9.3 percent.
But bear in mind, Italy has a population of 60 million people. Which means barely a tenth of a percent of the population has been infected. And the fact is the vast majority of people who get the virus recover.
Because of Italy’s strict actions on lockdown, the virus may be slowing.
News18.com reports, Italy’s health officials sounded notes of guarded hope after reporting another 651 fatalities on Sunday.
The figure was the second-highest recorded during the crisis and above that officially registered anywhere else in the world in a day.
But it was still lower than the record 793 deaths health officials announced on Saturday.
The number of new infections also rose Sunday by a relatively modest 10.4 percent.
In the U.S., there are more than 35,000 cases so far and 471 deaths, yielding a fatality rate of 1.3 percent – considerably lower. We have a population of about 325 million. If we follow the trajectory of Italy, 325,000 Americans would be infected with the coronavirus in the next couple of weeks, and perhaps 30,000 would perish.
However, some perspective is still needed. The CDC estimates that seasonal influenza has resulted in between 9 million and 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths ANNUALLY since 2010.
But the bad news is, the flu has a fatality rate of about a tenth of a percent. What has people particularly worried is the much higher fatality rate of coronavirus, particularly among more vulnerable populations — the elderly and those with underlying health issues.
Is the general panic about the pandemic overblown? We’re weeks if not months away from knowing. But in the meantime, we can all do our part by staying safe, staying close to our loved ones and thanking our physicians, nurses, EMTs and first responders for being on the front lines.