The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now estimating that over 100,000 people could die from coronavirus in the U.S. by June 1.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Friday that a dozen forecasting models of possible COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. predict an “increase in deaths in the coming weeks and a cumulative total exceeding 100,000 by June 1.”
In recent days, several states have reopened nonessential businesses and activities that had previously been shut to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — a move US President Donald Trump has been pushing.
Most of those states are flouting public health experts’ advice by opening before they see coronavirus cases steadily decline.
Trump has repeatedly revised the expected U.S. death toll upward in his public statements, saying in mid-April that the U.S. could see 50,000 to 60,000 dead, then saying later that month that the country could reach 70,000 dead. Earlier in May, he said total U.S. deaths from the pandemic could reach up to 100,000. All of those figures are lower than the current CDC projections of 100,000 dead by June 1 alone.
As Trump urged states to reopen earlier this month, an internal Trump administration document obtained by The New York Times predicted a steady increase in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, with the death toll mounting from about 1,750 deaths a day at that time to 3,000 a day by June.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
As of Friday, the U.S. continued to lead the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 87,000 dead so far.
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat of coronavirus. In an interview with ABC earlier this month, the president said there would be “some” deaths due to states reopening businesses and other activities. Later in the same interview, he also said, in an apparent bout of wishful thinking, that the virus “will pass, with or without a vaccine.”