Story at a glance

  • Emanuel slammed the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic as “incompetent and pretty disastrous.”
  • He said there could be between 220,000 and 250,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of the year.
  • Emanuel, however, agreed with President Trump that schools across the country should reopen in the fall.

A health expert and member of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force is estimating up to 250,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by the end of the year as cases continue to trend upward.

“Before the year is out, we’ll probably have, I would think, between 220,000 and 250,000 Americans who died directly from COVID, not to mention those people who are dying indirectly,” Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist who served as a health policy adviser to former President Obama and now serves on Biden’s campaign COVID-19 task force, told CBS's ‘The Takeout’ podcast. 


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Emanuel noted those in need of care for other health issues such as cancer and heart conditions could go without the treatment they need. 

“You’ll have a huge increase in mortality because of COVID, and that is, it seems to me, to be a failure.” 


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While the health professional slammed the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic as “incompetent and pretty disastrous,” he agreed with President Trump that schools across the country should reopen in the fall. 

“We need to open up primary and secondary schools in the fall. I think it’s really important,” Emanuel said. 

“I think you can do it safely. But whenever I say it, I don’t mean ‘no COVID,’ I mean ‘you will get COVID and kids will get COVID,’ but you can do it in a way that tries to minimize those cases,” he said. 

Trump has sought to pressure schools to physically reopen in the fall, even suggesting he could withhold federal funding from those that do not comply with his demands. 

Emanuel’s projection comes as the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) on Tuesday projected 208,255 COVID-19 deaths by Nov. 1 this week. The IHME, however, said the number of deaths could be slashed to 162,909 if 95 percent of people in the U.S. wore masks in public.

The U.S. has confirmed more than 3.1 million coronavirus cases with more than 133,000 deaths. 


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Published on Jul 10, 2020