The United States is expected to see about 200,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by June 1, with daily deaths hitting 3,000, a leaked Trump administration document shows.
“As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks. The daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, nearly double the current number of about 1,750,” the Times reported today. “The projections, based on government modeling pulled together in chart form by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases a day currently.”
The Times published the document, which is titled “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Situation Update.” These charts show the projections of new daily cases and deaths as well as how confirmed cases and deaths have risen since the pandemic began:
It isn’t clear whether the document’s projections assume that states will keep enforcing stay-at-home orders through May. The US so far has nearly 1.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and about 62,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The leaked Trump administration document said there are “a large number of counties whose burden continues to grow or are in an elevated incidence plateau, including in the Great Lakes region, parts of the Southeast, Northeast, and around southern California.” Good news from the document is that “incidence rates continue to decrease in multiple counties, including hard hit areas in Louisiana and in the New York City region” and that “incidence rates have recently plateaued in areas around Chicago.”
Despite the projected increase in daily cases and deaths, the White House is reportedly relying on other, more optimistic projections to support a plan to reopen the economy. A White House spokesperson told the NYT that “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.”
The White House also said the leaked document hasn’t been vetted. “This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting,” a White House spokesperson said. “This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed.”
According to the Washington Post, “A senior White House official said the document will not change the White House planning on reopening.” The Post story also said that “White House officials have been relying on other models to make decisions on reopening,” including a “‘cubic model’ prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers, led by Trump adviser Kevin Hassett. People with knowledge of the ‘cubic model’ say it currently shows deaths dropping precipitously in May—and essentially going to zero by May 15.” White House officials have also been relying on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, which has been criticized for making flawed projections.
Trump said on Sunday that up to 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus, but US deaths could be much higher based on the internal projections. Trump has fought governors who favor a cautious approach in reopening state economies, and his administration is threatening to sue states and municipalities whose pandemic orders infringe on people’s rights or cause “undue interference with the national economy.”