The number of new Coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States have slowed in recent days, just as more states are beginning to take steps to re-open businesses shuttered by the virus outbreak, but thousands of Americans are still dying as the death toll went over 83,000 on Wednesday.
A seven day average of the number of new Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. has started to fall in recent days, as so far there has been no explosion of virus cases since states began taking steps to re-open shuttered businesses, even as the death toll keeps climbing, now at over 83,000 Americans.
"There's hopeful signs," said former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in testimony Wednesday before a special House panel on the virus. "We see hospitalizations and new cases going down nationally."
"So we're seeing signs of a slowing epidemic nationally," Gottlieb added.
After the 7-day national average of deaths seemed to plateau around 1,800 per day last week, that average has now come down to 1,436 - the lowest point in a month.
One reason for the drop in deaths nationally has been the improving Coronavirus situation in New York, where deaths were down to 166 on Wednesday, continuing a decline from just short of 800 a day several weeks ago.
"These are not numbers, these are families," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday. "They're fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters."
New Jersey reported the most deaths in the U.S. on Wednesday with 197, followed by Illinois, which had its deadliest day yet from the virus outbreak, at 191 deaths.
Massachusetts reported 174 deaths on Wednesday, with Pennsylvania at 137.
After generating over a third of all deaths on some individual days in April, New York was just over 10 percent on Wednesday.
But the problem is deaths have grown in other states.
Back at the White House, the President again pressed governors to re-open their states, especially pushing for schools to be back in session.
"I think they should open the schools, absolutely," Mr. Trump told reporters, as he argued that young people are not impacted as seriously by the virus. "I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed."
The President was then asked about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious disease, who has become even more of a lightning rod within the GOP in recent days, as GOP lawmakers say Fauci is holding back Mr. Trump's efforts to open businesses.
“Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation,” the President, with a note of derision in his voice.
A day earlier at a Senate hearing, Fauci had urged caution when talking about re-opening schools in the fall - and the President did not like that.
"To me, it's not an acceptable answer," President Trump said.
“We’re opening our country. People want it open. The schools are going to be open,” Mr. Trump told reporters.