A month ago, he seemed to dismiss the casualty projections for the U.S.as media hysteria. But in two days this week that number doubled, to over 2,600 on Sunday. The number of deaths in Italy as of Sunday exceeded 10,000, the highest of any country in the world, according to figures from Johns Hopkins.
Trump's impulse to reopen the country, driven by pleas from business leaders, met a sober reality check from health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, who on Sunday said the US could experience between 100,000-200,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic. Total deaths in the United States now stand at 2,112 (444 new).
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that his city's hospitals have enough protective equipment - but not enough of the life-saving ventilators - for only another week.
'But we find anywhere from 2-4,000 that have been sent and aren't used, now we've done a job, ' Trump said of NY.
The human consequences of a shutdown that has seen huge chunks of the USA economy grind to a halt were playing out at food banks, where organizers say demand has exploded.
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee described "a desperate need for all kinds of equipment". He said the nation needed to be put on an essentially wartime footing.
"We're trying to keep our heads above water without drowning", Mollette said. "I mean, we really have done a very good job".
In the 24 hours before Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, delivered his dire prediction, Trump backed away from his proposed quarantine of the three states surrounding the U.S. epicenter of New York City: New York, New Jersey and CT.
Trump did not specify which hospitals were hoarding ventilators, nor did he provide evidence to back up his claims.
In the "Fox & Friends" interview, Trump also said his administration was considering providing hazard pay for medical professionals who are on the front lines of the pandemic.
PM announces funding to support children and seniors
Data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that one in three cases in the country involves people under the age of 40. Bonnie Henry says 81 people are hospitalized, including 52 in intensive care, and there has been one additional death.
"It feels very apocalyptic", said Quentin Hill, 27, of New York City, who works for a Jewish nonprofit.
"I hope they distributed them now", Trump said.
The US Government signalled they are considering plans to roll back restrictions in less-affected states but Dr Fauci said he would only agree to changes to current social distancing measures if enhanced testing is in place.
"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won", he said at a briefing that saw him lash out several times at reporters and criticize the CNN network and The New York Times.
He also called on Congress to restore the full tax deduction for meals and entertainment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Because the "Ratings" of my News Conferences etc. are so high. the Lamestream Media is going insane", he tweeted.
"And so, if we could hold that down, as we're saying, to 100,000 - it's a awful number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 [thousand] and 200,000 - we altogether have done a very good job".
But what Trump omitted was the remainder of the sentence.
"'President Trump is a ratings hit".
On March 26, Trump said the pandemic "was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country", even though public health officials warned for years that the country was unprepared to respond to a pandemic. She promised a congressional investigation once the pandemic is over to determine whether President Trump heeded advice from scientific experts and to answer the question that resonates through USA political scandals: "What did he know and when did he know it?"