President Donald Trump on a Fox News virtual town hall titled “America Together: Returning to Work” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on May 3, 2020.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump predicted at a Fox News town hall that “75, 80 to 100,000 people” in the United States could die of the coronavirus.
This comes just a few weeks after he said that the pandemic would likely kill around 60,000 Americans. The current death toll is nearly 68,000.
The president touted this higher death toll as good news in comparison to the millions of lives that would’ve been lost had the country not practiced social distancing.
Based on internal CDC forecasts, the Trump administration is privately bracing for 200,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths every day by early June, The New York Times reported on Monday.
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During a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday, President Donald Trump revised the United States’ coronavirus death toll estimates — again.
“Look, we’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” he said. “That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person out of this.”
Fox News anchor Bret Baier pointed out to the president that this new number marked an increase from what he’d said a few weeks ago.
To that, Trump replied: “I used to say 65,000 and now I’m saying [80,000] or [90,000] and it goes up and it goes up rapidly.”
The president framed this higher death toll as good news when compared to models that had predicted millions would die in the absence of social distancing measures, adding, “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.”
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows that more than 1.16 million across the US have been infected by COVID-19 and at least 67,795 have died.
The Trump administration is believed to be privately predicting 200,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths every day by early June, based on internal CDC forecasts, The New York Times first reported on Monday. That’s up from the current levels of 25,000 new cases and 1,750 deaths each day.
The White House’s estimates on the pandemic’s potential impact have changed multiple times
Trump has been criticized for downplaying the threat of the pandemic for weeks as the coronavirus marched across the globe and then hit the US. That was followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bungling the nation’s diagnostic testing capabilities and state officials begging the government for additional medical resources, including ventilators and personal protective equipment, on behalf of overwhelmed hospital systems.
April saw people across the US protesting ad-hoc stay-at-home orders. Some states have begun to lift lockdowns so that businesses can reopen and people can return to work.
Over the past several weeks, the White House has offered mixed messages about the number of people who could die of the virus.
On March 29, Trump said that between 100,000 and 240,000 lives will likely be lost to COVID-19. That grim figure, he said, would mean he and his allies had “done a very good job.”
Then, at an April 20 press briefing, he said, “We’re going toward 50- or 60,000 people,” according to the Hill.
Most recently, on May 1, the president said, “Hopefully, we’re going to come in under that 100,000 lives lost,” deeming that colossal death toll a “horrible number.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, on Sunday stood by her estimate that up to 240,000 Americans could die from COVID-19.
“Our projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that’s with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance,” she told Fox News.
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