President Donald Trump and senior administration officials have begun employing a new turn of phrase to describe America’s war against the coronavirus pandemic — insisting that the same social-distancing guidelines the president has suggested rolling back in recent days are in fact revealing a “light at the end of the tunnel” to the public health crisis.
The newly optimistic assessments, which harken back to the some of the similarly rosy predictions Trump issued during the initial wave of the outbreak in the United States, come as the country reaches a grim new milestone: more than 1,000 deaths as a result of Covid-19 infections, as of late Wednesday.
The president used the expression during a press briefing of the White House coronavirus task force on Tuesday, remarking that there exists “tremendous hope” among Americans “as we look forward and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Stay focused and stay strong,” Trump said, “and my administration and myself will deliver for you, as we have in the past.”
Members of the administration’s task force have since begun repeating versions of the same language in cable news appearances, pointing to a new piece of data provided on Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, the current epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S.
Cuomo said during his daily news conference in Albany that there was early evidence indicating the state’s “density control measures may be working,” citing estimates that the pace of coronavirus-related hospitalizations across the state was slowing.
New York officials had calculated on Sunday that the number of hospitalizations were doubling every two days, Cuomo said, but that forecast stretched to a rate of every 3.4 days on Monday and every 4.7 days on Tuesday.
Cuomo called the projections a “very good sign and a positive sign,” but acknowledged they were “almost too good to be true” and said he was “not 100 percent sure” that the outlook “holds or it’s accurate.”
Discussing those numbers and the latest fluctuations in the state’s new Covid-19 cases, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham said on Wednesday night: “If that trend does hold, it’s really good news about when this nightmare actually peaks, and then we start seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”
In an interview on Ingraham’s program minutes later, Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed her sentiment and praised Trump’s line of messaging amid the outbreak.
“What the president, in my mind, is doing is trying to help people understand that there is a light at the end of this tunnel,” Adams said. “We will get through this, and as you mentioned earlier, we’re seeing New York’s cases level off, we’re seeing their hospitalizations start to level off.”
Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health and the administration’s point person on ramping up coronavirus testing, also appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, telling the hosts of the president’s favorite morning show that “there are beginning to be indicators that we are getting ahead of this — that there’s light at the head of the tunnel.”