Vice President Mike Pence issued a stark warning on Wednesday, telling CNN viewers that coronavirus’s impact in the U.S. may be “most comparable” to Italy.
Pence made the comments during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer just a day after the coronavirus task force team warned as many as 240,000 Americans could die from the virus.
“We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point for a variety of reasons,” Vice President Mike Pence said.
"We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point," Vice President Mike Pence says. "Our message yesterday, our message over the next 30 days, is the future is in our hands" https://t.co/COuRbBQyOK pic.twitter.com/ncxpm7NDbc— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 1, 2020
The comment drew a strong reaction on social media given that Italy has been an epicenter of the pandemic. Over 100,000 people have been infected and there were 12,428 deaths in Italy as of Wednesday. The United States already has close to 200,000 cases of the virus and more than 4,000 deaths.
“We truly believe that while some of the initial estimates even in this modeling suggest that without every American putting into practice those guidelines of wash your hands, avoid groups of more than 10, use drive-thrus through restaurants and the like, that we could have literally seen between 1.6 million and 2.2 million losses,” Pence said.
“But the president also wanted to make it clear that our most recent modeling suggests that with strong mitigation, the range is still — it’s still heartbreaking when we think about the lives that could be lost. Our message yesterday, our message over the next 30 days, is the future is in our hands.”
Pence dismissed the notion that President Donald Trump downplayed the threat of the virus and put blame on China, saying “we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming.”
“Look, the president is an optimistic person,” Pence said to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve been from the beginning, when the president suspended all travel from China and stood up the White House coronavirus task force in January, we have been hoping for the best but planning for the worst.”