WASHINGTON - The White House is downplaying a U.S. government report projecting a near doubling of COVID-19 daily deaths in the United States by June 1.
White House spokesman Judd Deere took issue Monday with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that also forecasts about 200,000 new coronavirus cases each day by the end of the month, up from 25,000 cases now.
The information is based on government modeling pulled together in chart form by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and published Monday by The New York Times.
In a statement Monday, Deere said it is not a “White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting. This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed.”
The spokesman said, “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.”
Here are the US states that have the greatest COVID death toll per capita
The government report said the number of coronavirus fatalities could reach 3,000 a day in four weeks, up sharply from the current figure of about 1,750, according to the Times.
A separate coronavirus model, which has previously been used by the White House, also significantly increased its projections Monday for U.S. coronavirus deaths through August. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine predicted more than 134,000 people would die in the United States through August, an increase from its prediction last week of about 72,000 deaths in that same time period.
Researchers said the increased projections are based in part on the fact that social distancing policies are being eased around the country.
The United States has sought to combat the spread of the coronavirus for about seven weeks, but President Donald Trump has ended his stay-at-home directives that shut down much of the U.S. economy through April.
Numerous state governors have eased restrictions on business closures as the calendar turned to May, permitting hair and nail salons, gyms, restaurants and shops to reopen in their states, although businesses by the thousands remain closed.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that his state, the most populous, has made enough progress in containing the spread of the virus to begin allowing stores to reopen with safety restrictions as early as Friday.
As Congress considers additional actions to respond to the crisis, Democratic leaders are objecting to a White House memo barring members of the administration’s coronavirus task force form appearing before congressional committees without approval.
The memo says such permission can only come from Trump’s chief of staff.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN that lawmakers need information from the administration in order to allocate resources.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement later Monday saying Trump’s approach is weakening the U.S. response.
“President Trump should learn that by muzzling science and the truth, it will only prolong this health and economic crisis. The president’s failure to accept the truth and then his desire to hide it, is one of the chief reasons we are lagging behind so many other countries in beating this scourge,” Schumer said.
Countries with highest COVID death tolls per capita