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.”

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 31: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) during the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Briefing room at the White House on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. With the nationwide death toll rising due to the coronavirus, the United States has extended its social distancing practices through the end of April, while many states have issued stay-at-home orders that strongly discourage residents from leaving home unless absolutely necessary or essential. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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. 

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.


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