Trump says leaked report predicting 3,000 deaths each day by June is 'fake news'

The projections, based on government modeling and compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also forecast about 200,000 new COVID-19 cases daily by the end of May


                            Trump says leaked report predicting 3,000 deaths each day by June is 'fake news'
(Getty Images)
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Dismissing a leaked report that estimates there could be 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US every day by June 1, US President Donald Trump has called it "false" and "fake news'.

“I know nothing about it. I don’t know anything about it. Nobody told me that. I think it’s — I think it’s false, I think it’s fake news,” he told the New York Post during an interview. He said, “I think they’re (Americans) starting to feel good now. The country’s opening again. We saved millions of lives, I think.” 

The details of the report, which was published by the New York Times (NYT), projects a sharp increase in both COVID-19 cases and death. It says that the daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, which is a massive increase from the current number of about 1,750, says the article. The projections in the form of charts also show that COVID-19 cases will surge to about 200,000 per day by June 1.

“The projections, based on government modeling pulled together by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month (of May), up from about 25,000 cases a day currently. The numbers underscore a sobering reality: The US has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks to try slowing the spread of the virus, but reopening the economy will make matters worse,” says the NYT. 

The draft has been marked as “COVID -19 HHS (Department of Health and Human Services)/FEMA Interagency VTC (videoteleconference).” The slides also carry the logo of the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC). The internal report also says that there remains 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. 

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“Hopefully we can keep the plague, keep the virus at bay. If we have a flare-up, we can put it out. We’ve learned a lot,” Trump told the New York Post.

An internal federal report projects a sharp increase in both COVID-19 cases and death by June in the US
(Getty Images)

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The White House said that the projections had not been vetted yet. “This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the 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,” White House spokesperson, Judd Deere, tweeted

“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 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,” said Deere. In April, Trump had issued new phase-wise guidelines for reopening the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Recently, Trump warned that the US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could reach 100,000. But this number still underestimates what experts are now predicting to be the total death toll by the end of May. “Look, we’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100 thousand people. That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this. This should have been stopped in China. It should have been stopped. But if we didn’t do it, the minimum we would have lost is a million-two, a million-four, a million-five., he said during a Fox News Virtual Town Hall. 

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Dr Deborah Birx, who is part of the Trump administration's coronavirus taskforce, said the predictions had consistently been that up to 240,000 Americans could die. “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,” Birx told Fox News. 

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Another COVID-19 forecast for the US project nearly 135,000 deaths through the beginning of August, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The projected US deaths through early August total 134,475, with a range of 95,092 to 242,890. “In each state, the evolution of the epidemic depends on the balance between relaxed social distancing, increasing temperature, and rising rates of testing and contact tracing. We expect that the epidemic in many states will now extend through the summer,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. 

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According to the Johns Hopkins tracker, over 68,930 people in the US have died in the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 1,180,630 cases of the coronavirus has been reported as of May 5.

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