The United States added 559 new coronavirus cases, including six deaths, in the past day, according to the statistical site Worldometers. Even so, on Sunday afternoon, Donald Trump attempted to sound a positive note at a press briefing by telling Americans to "relax."
"We're gonna all be great, we're gonna be so good," Trump said at the White House press briefing, as quoted via Twitter by CNN reporter Daniel Dale. "Relax. We're doing great. It all will pass."
A total of 63 Americans have died in the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 3,500 cases nationwide.
Trump also said that he was "very happy" that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced on Sunday that it would effectively eliminate its target interest rate — the rate at which it loans money to other financial institutions — to zero, according to a CNN report. The move is designed to prop up the U.S. economy during the coronavirus crisis and marks the first time the Fed has slashed the rate to zero since the 2008 financial collapse.
Throughout the country, however, states and localities continued to announce drastic measures designed to stem the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, according to the CNN report. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered drinking establishments — bars, nightclubs, wineries, and brewpubs — to close because they perform a "non-essential" function.
In New York City and three surrounding counties, all public schools will close their doors starting sometime this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, according to CNN.
The crackdowns on public gatherings are designed to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus, and as a result, allow the overburdened U.S. health care system to handle what is likely to be an influx of patients with the new ailment.
According to a Washington Post report, even a moderate disease outbreak could lead to 200,000 Americans requiring intensive care in hospitals. But there are currently only about 100,000 ICU beds throughout the country — and most are currently in use.
In Italy and China, both countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital overflow situation has already occurred, and "patients have been denied care and have died as a result," according to the Post report.
But a former Trump administration health security official, Tom Bossert — whose job was eliminated when Trump slashed the National Security Council's pandemic response team — said last week that the current coronavirus pandemic could infect up to 100 million Americans, a situation that would leave the health care system swamped, even though most of the infected victims would not require hospitalization.
Experts also say that the lack of testing for coronavirus in the early stages of the outbreak contributed to the rapid spread of the virus. But according to one Politico reporter who has covered the administration's response to the pandemic, it was Trump himself who slowed the testing rollout, fearing that increased numbers of cases would damage his bid for reelection in November.