Update (1320ET): Unsurprisingly, the White House has rebutted the NYT report - which claimed that these projections represented 'current conditions on the ground, so to speak - saying it doesn't reflect current projections.
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Less than 12 hours after we predicted the news media would lose its mind over President Trump's uttering a new "projected" death toll during a briefing with reporters Sunday evening. For the first time, Trump said he expects up to 100k deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, which is higher than figures he's quoted in the past.
There's no debate that the pace of deaths has slowed in the US in recent weeks.
Yet, as Florida allows some businesses to reopen (albeit with strictly limited capacity) on Monday, the NYT has published "internal projections" from the CDC calling for average daily US deaths to accelerate to 3,000 a day by June 1. However, most of the hardest hit states are seeing cases and deaths decline, while some states are seeing a slight acceleration. Overall US mortality has plateaued. According to the CDC's own coronavirus weekly summary, "nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) declined again this week. They have been below the national baseline for two weeks but remain elevated in the northeastern and northwestern part of the country. Levels of laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 activity remained similar or decreased compared to last week."
The NYT reported that the White House continues to expect up to 3,000 deaths a day in June while Trump continues to 'press' for states to reopen.
The report also claimed the projections "confirm" public health experts "primary fear" that a premature reopening will instigate a rebound putting us right back where we were in March.
As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, nearly double from the current level of about 1,750.
The projections, based on modeling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 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 now.
The numbers underscore a sobering reality: While the United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks, not much has changed. And the reopening to the economy will make matters worse.
"There remains a large number of counties whose burden continues to grow,” the C.D.C. warned.
The projections confirm the primary fear of public health experts: that a reopening of the economy will put the nation right back where it was in mid-March, when cases were rising so rapidly in some parts of the country that patients were dying on gurneys in hospital hallways as the health care system grew overloaded.
Notice the language the NYT has used: Characterizing the situation in the US by saying "not much has changed" simply doesn't jive with the data, or with the lived experience of millions of Americans who took to public spaces and parks over the weekend to enjoy the good weather and sunshine.
But even states that have pressed ahead with reopening aren't seeing anywhere near the activity they saw as recently as mid-March, just as the stay-at-home orders and lockdowns were beginning.
Trump smartly stopped egging on protesters and pushing states to reopen before federal guidelines say it's acceptable. But at this point, the notion that these projections represent anything more than a "worst case" scenario for the CDC seems far-fetched.