As a slew of states start to ease lockdowns to attempt to reopen the U.S. economy, the Trump administration is privately projecting that the number of deaths related to the coronavirus will steadily increase to as much as 3,000 a day by early June, The New York Times reports. The paper noted the tally would represent a near-doubling of the current U.S. death toll on any given day, which has so far reached nearly 70,000 people in the face of the gruesome pandemic. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures, the new data cited by the Times were said to bank on about 200,000 new cases daily across the country by the end of May.
The figures came to light just hours after President Trump at a Fox News town hall revised his own previous death toll projection way upward—to 80,000 or 100,000. Some of any nascent surge may ultimately be explained by an expansion of testing capacity in the coming weeks. But for another factor that may help produce the administration’s terrifying anticipated benchmark, look no further than Texas, which in recent days began to reopen its economy just as it reported a deluge of new cases.
The White House reportedly distanced itself from the projections after they were published, indicating the data were not the product of its coronavirus task force.