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Donald Trump says US is in ‘good shape’ for coronavirus peak as death toll tops 3,000

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Donald Trump said the US will be in “a very good shape” by the time the coronavirus outbreak reaches its peak, as the death toll in the country topped 3,000.

The US has more than 163,000 confirmed virus cases and more than 3,000 deaths, making it the worst-hit country in the world for cases of Covid-19.

Speaking at Monday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House, the president said more than a million Americans had been tested for the virus.

“We have now 10 companies at least making the ventilators, and we say go ahead because, honestly, other countries – they’ll never be able to do it,” said Mr Trump.

Donald Trump said the US was in ‘a very good shape’ for the coronavirus peak (REUTERS)

When asked whether there would be enough ventilators for all patients in the US who needed them during a predicted peak in infections in two weeks’ time, Mr Trump responded: “I think we [are] going to be in a very good shape.”

He added that he should be congratulated on his administration’s progress in fighting the virus.

The president has also defended his decision to extend restrictive social-distancing guidelines  which had been due to expire on Monday.

During a nearly hour long call-in interview with Fox & Friends, Mr Trump said: “The worst thing that could happen is you do it too early and all of a sudden it comes back.”

Americans are now being asked to prepare for at least another 30 days of severe economic and social disruption, with schools and businesses closed until April 30.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said the US could experience between 100,000-200,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic.

“It would not have been a good idea to pull back at a time when you really need to be pressing your foot on the pedal as opposed to on the brakes,” Dr Fauci said on CNN on Monday, describing how he and Dr Deborah Birx, the coronavirus task force coordinator, had convinced Mr Trump to reconsider.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an urgent appeal for help with tackling the outbreak in the city. (AFP via Getty Images)

“We showed him the data. He looked at the data. He got it right away,” Dr Fauci said. “It was a pretty clear picture. Dr Debbie Birx and I went into the Oval Office and leaned over the desk and said, ‘Here are the data. Take a look’. He just shook his head and said, ‘I guess we got to do it’.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo begged for help amid a “staggering” number of deaths as the state’s death toll climbed by more than 250 in a single day to a total of more than 1,200 victims.

He said: “Please come help us in New York now. We’ve lost over 1,000 New Yorkers.

“To me, we’re beyond staggering already. We’ve reached staggering.”

The Governor said an additional 1 million health care workers are needed to tackle the crisis.​

“Anyone who says this situation is a New York City-only situation is in a state of denial,” Mr Cuomo said.

“You see this virus move across the state. You see this virus move across the nation. There is no American who is immune to this virus.”

A field hospital for coronavirus patients in New York. (AFP via Getty Images)

Dr Fauci similarly warned that smaller cities are likely about to see cases “take off” the way they have in New York City.

“What we’ve learned from painful experience with this outbreak is that it goes along almost on a straight line, then a little acceleration, acceleration, then it goes way up,” he said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

On Saturday residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were advised not to travel elsewhere within the country for 14 days.

Non-essential gatherings in New York City are banned and most businesses are closed, while across the US gatherings are limited to groups of under 10 people.

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