Trump warns of painful two weeks; 240,000 deaths predicted Global corona cases pass 860,000

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WASHINGTON/LONDON President Donald Trump warned Americans on Tuesday of a “painful” two weeks ahead in fighting the coronavirus, with a mounting US death toll that could stretch into the hundreds of thousands even with strict social distancing measures. In perhaps his most somber news conference to date about the pandemic, Trump, who has faced criti cism for playing down the threat of the outbreak in its initial phases, urged the population to heed guidance to limit groups to no more than 10 people, work from home and not dine in restaurants or bars. “It’s absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines for the next 30 days. It’s a matter of life and death,” Trump said. White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx displayed charts demonstrating data and modeling that showed an enormous jump in deaths to a range of 100,000 to 240,000 people from the virus in the coming months. That figure was predicated on Americans following mitigation efforts. One of Birx’s charts showed as many as 2.2 million people were projected to die with out such measures, a statistic that prompted Trump to ditch a plan he articulated last week to get the US economy moving again by Easter on April 12. Meanwhile the United States saw its death toll top 4,000, roaring past China’s official tally of 3,309, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. Deaths from the coronavirus spiked in Europe on Tuesday with Spain, France and Britain reporting their highest daily tolls to date, as field hospitals shot up across New York, the epicentre of the US outbreak bracing for dark times ahead. While there are hopeful signs that the spread of infections is slowing in hardest-hit Italy and Spain, more than 800 died overnight in both countries. The number of new confirmed infections rose by 2,107 on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 77,635, according to figures from Italy’s civil protection authority. The rise in infections was higher than the daily increase registered on Monday (1,648), but lower than Sunday’s increase of 3,815. France recorded a one-day record of 499 dead while Britain reported 381 coronavirus deaths. With hospitals direly overstretched, lockdowns have been extended despite their crushing economic impact. In Belgium a 12-year-old girl died in another worrying case of a youth succumbing to the disease.