Speaking on the condition of anonymity to The Washington Post, experts and Trump’s top advisers expressed uncertainty about the projected 100,000 – 240,000 death toll projection that members of the COVID-19 taskforce gave at a White House briefing this week. According to the report, there has been fierce dialogue within the administration about how factual it is.
WaPo says that two people with direct knowledge told the paper that Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back on the information derived from the pandemic models. He called them unreliable and insisted that they don’t offer credible information. And apparently he is not the only one within the administration who has doubts about the accuracy.
Marc Lipsitch, the director of Harvard University’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics added that the White House contacted him for his educated predictions, but gave him roughly 24 hours to offer his feedback. “My initial response was we can’t do it that fast. But we ended up providing them some numbers responding to very specific scenarios.”
On Tuesday Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, showed charts during the briefing that portrayed death estimates and projections related to the coronavirus pandemic. But experts point out that the data, which was only captured on one slide, gave no explanation as to the time period that the deaths are supposed to occur. They also question the purpose of bringing those estimates to the public. Typically projections are made along with answers and/ or decisions that could potentially help stem the projected count. Trump, nor members of his task force offered either.
The death toll numbers came as a shock to many, and at a time when local and state officials are considering a multitude of ways to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Trump unveiled the projected death count saying that the data for it was “brilliantly” put together, but what would have proven more brilliant is if the projections came with a federal plan to significantly cut the 100,000 – 240,000 figure.
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