While President Donald Trump has pushed for states to reopen their economies during the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is now predicting the number of COVID-19 deaths to reach 3,000 per day by June. The projects are based on data from several agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and predicts there will by 200,000 new cases a day by the end of the month, 170,000 more cases per day than the current rate. The data, outlined in an internal document obtained by The New York Times Monday, shows about 1,750 deaths per day currently.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington also more than doubled its previous projection for the total number of deaths caused by COVID-19, the disease cased by the new coronavirus. The institute is now predicting over 134,000 deaths in the U.S. by Aug. 4, up from 60,000. Trump previously pointed to the model during press conferences after its early prediction of over 100,000 deaths by early August was lowered to 60,000 as states began administering "stay-at-home" orders. However, some states are starting to reopen even without seeing a decline in the number of coronavirus cases over a 14-day period.
An administration official confirmed to CNN the document the Times obtained is authentic and was distributed to relevant agencies this past weekend. The official noted it was only a projection, while the White House said the document was not seen by the coronavirus task force. It has not "been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting," Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere told CNN. "This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed."
"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 added. "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."
Although the White House issued the "Opening Up America Again" reopening guidelines, some states are reopening without adhering to them. Still, the Trump administration has not issued nationwide policies and Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House task force, praised state-level testing during a call with governors Tuesday. In a recording of the call obtained by the Times, Pence told governors their case numbers will go up as more testing happens. "But it's all going to be a matter of making sure that the public sees the whole picture. But it's all progress," Pence said.
Trump previously expected 65,000 Americans to die from the coronavirus. On Sunday night, Trump told Fox News he is now estimating between 80,000 to 90,000 deaths. Dr. Debroah Brix, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, predicted 100,000 to 240,000 deaths even with social distancing taken into consideration.