Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield said the statistical models tracked by the agency show the COVID-19 death toll in the United States is poised to pass the 100,000 mark within weeks.
“CDC tracks 12 different forecasting models of possible COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.,” Redfield said in a tweet Friday. “As of May 11, all forecast an increase in deaths in the coming weeks and a cumulative total exceeding 100,000 by June 1.”
So far, the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, the novel coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan, China, late last year and became a global pandemic, has killed over 87,500 Americans, a Johns Hopkins tally shows.
Redfield shared a link to the CDC’s most recent COVID-19 death forecast, which predicts that, on May 30, the cumulative death toll will hit 105,605.
The CDC estimates feature several caveats. One is that predictions differ based on assumptions about how diligent people are in observing social distancing guidelines. Another is that states with low numbers of deaths reported to date are unlikely to see a rapid rise in the coming weeks, while those with high numbers of deaths reported so far “are likely to see substantial increases.”
The predictions include a state-by-state breakdown (pdf). An ensemble estimate, which compiles individual predictions into one, anticipates that the number of cumulative deaths in New York, the nation’s COVID-19 hotspot, will exceed 30,000 by the end of the month.
Redfield’s remarks come as many states move to ease lockdown measures that have thrown the economy into a tailspin while attempting to contain the outbreak.
In the face of economic devastation, which includes record job losses, the Trump administration has sought to balance the imperative of saving lives with protecting livelihoods.
President Donald Trump said at an event on vaccine development on Friday that almost every state had taken steps to begin reopening.
“The American people are doing an extraordinary job of continuing to take precautions while, at the same time, wanting to start,” he said.
“And they will be starting to resume their American way of life,” Trump said. “We will be reigniting our economic engines,” he added, while “taking care of our most vulnerable.”
While releasing criteria for “Opening Up America Again,” which is a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts, the White House has largely left decisions about reopening to state governors.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, warned Congress this week of “needless suffering and death” if the states move to reopen too haphazardly.