(CN) – While President Donald Trump has compared the coronavirus outbreak to the common flu, Senator Bernie Sanders said Monday that science and facts point to a much more dire situation in store for Americans and gave a breakdown of what needs to be done.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than 600 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, and a study published Monday says the figure is probably over 9,000.
The Trump administration has attempted to downplay the spread and severity of the virus, blaming the news media and the Democratic Party for trying to create panic among Americans.
In Detroit on Monday, Sanders was joined by doctors and epidemiologists at a health roundtable. The Democratic presidential candidate says there is a real lack of confidence in the Trump administration’s handling of the outbreak.
“But it would certainly help if the world and the people of our own country had confidence that the administration of the United States of America, that our government was making decisions based on science,” said Sanders. “And I do not mean to be disrespectful, but I’m telling you the truth that people of the world would like to know we have a president who doesn’t lie all of the time.”
More confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the last few days across the country — and not just in major hubs for international travel.
According to epidemiologist Alison Galvani with the Yale School of Medicine, one simulation scenario shows there will not be enough resources at the current rate of spread. Projections show at the height of the coronavirus outbreak the United States will need around 300,000 hospital beds for the hardest-hit patients, well short of the 90,000 beds available across the country Galvani told the roundtable.
“We expect that to occur according to that scenario in the next few months,” said Galvani. Projections show that about 5% of all patients will be hospitalized and two-third of all ICU beds are occupied for other serious illnesses.
Sanders also highlighted the class divide that could take place when a vaccine becomes available to the wider public and the looming question becomes who will be able to afford vaccine.
On Monday, city officials in Detroit restored water to thousands of residents in the face of coronavirus outbreak to allow the poorest communities to wash their hands.
“How far behind are we?” asked Sanders. “Can you believe that in the year 2020, in the richest country in the world, in a major American city, people have no water because they cannot afford to pay their water bills?”
He added: “Do I approve of spending a few cents for a vaccine rather than seeing people die or spending thousands of dollars on hospital care? Yeah, I kind of think it makes a little more sense in investing in a vaccine. Does anybody in their right mind believe that if you’re rich, you should be able to afford a vaccine and save your life, but if you’re poor, you got to die? Is that where we’re really at in the United States of America?”
Abdul El-Sayed, former public health professor and Michigan politician, said the situation has moved from one of containment into mitigation. Now low-income workers will have to deal with losing income where they can’t afford to miss out on work.
Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles confirmed the window on containment is likely closing as the range of infected Americans is significantly higher than official estimates from the federal government.
The medical center’s researchers announced the findings in a report Monday, which are based on air traffic data between Wuhan, China, and the United States, confirmed cases publicly announced by the CDC and the dynamics surrounding the transmission estimates from previous research. According to their estimates range, anywhere from 1,043 to 9,484 people in the United States were infected with the coronavirus by the beginning of March.