As the US emerges from weeks of lockdown, Donald Trump shocked many by revealing on Sunday that he believes the virus death toll may rise to 100,000 deaths.
The White House previously estimated that the virus would take 60,000 lives. As of Monday morning, nearly 70,000 Americans have succumbed to the illness.
The US fights on
The president has been hopeful throughout the pandemic that the US will escape the crushing death toll and healthcare chaos that some other nations have faced. Original death toll projections predicted that the US would experience hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Death toll projections have been revised several times throughout the US outbreak due to varying factors that affect the mortality rate of the virus.
While appearing in a virtual Fox News town hall on Sunday, Trump forecasted that “we’re going to lose anywhere from 75-, 80- to 100,000 people. That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this. This should’ve been stopped in China.”
Trump acknowledged the revision of his previously optimistic projection, saying “It’s going up. I used to say 65,000. Now I’m saying 80 or 90, and it goes up and it goes up rapidly.”
“But it’s still going to be, no matter how you look at it, at the lower end of the plane if we did the shutdown.”
Trump’s forecast mirrors the highly cited University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model, which was revised last week to predict between 56,563 to 130,666 deaths from COVID-19.
The US experienced its deadliest day yet on May 3, with 2,909 individuals losing their lives in a 24-hour period.
Trump offers hope
As the US continues to push through the outbreak and states begin to tenuously reopen their economies, Trump offered a glimmer of hope for those that fear a second wave will come back even stronger next winter.
Trump said during the town hall that the White House coronavirus task force is confident that a vaccine will be available by the end of the year, a critical component to allowing the world to return to normal functioning.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the foremost infectious disease expert on the team, cautiously agreed in a recent televised appearance, saying that “We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it’s safe and it’s effective. I think that is doable if things fall in the right place.”