Trump administration projecting 3K daily coronavirus deaths by June
The Trump administration is projecting that the United States could see up to 3,000 deaths per day from the coronavirus by June 1, a person familiar with internal documents confirmed to The Hill on Monday.
Data and modeling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the federal government is expecting the number of cases and deaths associated with the pandemic to continue mounting, even as President Trump and other officials push for states to lift restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus in favor of reopening businesses.
The New York Times, which was the first to report on the projections, posted the documents, which show the CDC and Federal Emergency Management Agency forecast a steady increase in the number of new cases per day.
The projections show the U.S. reaching 200,000 new cases daily by June 1 with a daily death toll of roughly 3,000. The number of daily cases peaked in late April at just over 30,000. The current daily death toll varies, but typically falls between 1,500 and 2,000.
The report warns that the Great Lakes region, Southern California and parts of the South and Northeast are all seeing increasing case loads.
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
A White House spokesman said the document had not been presented to the coronavirus task force or gone through interagency vetting.
“This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the Coronavirus Task Force or data that the task force has analyzed,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
“The President’s phased guidelines to open up America again are a scientific driven approach that the top health and infectious disease experts in the federal government agreed with,” Deere said. “The health of the American people remains President Trump’s top priority and that will continue as we monitor the efforts by states to ease restrictions.”
The person familiar with the documents said the findings were presented on an interagency call. But the White House task force, which is led by Vice President Mike Pence, may not have been included, the person said.
One former administration official said the sharp increase in projected case numbers could reflect both increased spread of the virus as states begin to ease stay-at-home orders and expanded testing capabilities that would allow officials to identify more cases that may have previously gone unreported.
The dire figures in the report underscore the risks many states face as they begin to loosen restrictions that allow people to return to businesses and public spaces, even as the number of cases continues to rise.
Georgia, Texas, Florida and Iowa are among the states that have allowed certain businesses to reopen. Governors there have continued to urge residents to limit the size of gatherings and to wear masks to limit transmission of the virus.
Trump has been among the most vocal advocates for reopening the country. He has repeatedly argued that the “cure cannot be worse than the problem,” suggesting that Americans cannot endure economic hardship for the sake of draconian public health measures.
But even Trump has acknowledged that the death toll from the virus may be more grim than he personally estimated. He previously predicted the number of deaths would come in around 60,000 people, but on Sunday night revised it upward.
“It’s going up,” Trump acknowledged. “I used to say 65,000. Now I’m saying 80 or 90, and it goes up and it goes up rapidly. But it’s still going to be, no matter how you look at it, at the lower end of the plane if we did the shutdown.”
Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, said on “Fox News Sunday” that their projections have always estimated between 100,000 and 240,000 people could die even with mitigation measures in place.
Updated: 2:03 p.m.
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