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Trump’s Plan to Reopen America Involves 3,000 People Dying a Day by June 1

Also disclaiming the report was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite the fact that, as the Washington Post notes, the slides include the CDC logo. While Justin Lessler, the creator of the model, said the numbers are unfinished projections and a work in progress, he acknowledged that cases could quickly spiral out of control with 100,000 per day by the end of the month being in the realm of possibility depending on the decisions governments make now. And left to its own devices, the Trump administration is not known for making good ones.

A senior White House official said the document would not change the White House planning on reopening. White House officials have been relying on other models to make decisions on reopening, including the IHME model and a “cubic model” prepared by Trump adviser and economist Kevin Hassett and the Council of Economic Advisers. People with knowledge of the “cubic model” say it currently shows deaths dropping precipitously in May—and essentially going to zero by May 15.

While that would obviously be a welcome turn of events, Hassett happens to be the guy who authored a book called Dow 36,000, in which he predicted in 1999— just prior to the the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling from a record high of 11,750.28 in January 2000 to a then record low of 7,286.27 in October 2002—that the DJIA would hit 36,000 in the near future. So it’s not entirely clear why he’s deciding literally anything here.

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Speaking of bold claims

Turns out the one National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow made on February 25—in which he said the U.S. had “contained” the coronavirus “pretty close to airtight”—didn’t age so well, though in the grand tradition of the Trump administration he’s sticking to it. Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Kudlow told Jake Tapper: “My quote then was based on the actual facts, which at the time, there were only 40 or 50 cases, and it was contained—particularly after President Trump boldly put up travel restrictions with China…There was hardly any cases. Yes, some doctors were more fearful. Other doctors had many different things to say…. Then, as the virus spread exponentially in ways that virtually no one could have predicted, of course we changed our mind.” In reality, on the same day Kudlow effectively claimed the virus was on lockdown, Nancy Messonnier, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters an outbreak in the U.S. was inevitable. “It’s not a question of if but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Messonnier said. Or as Kudlow would put it, “six to one, half a dozen to the other.”

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