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As the US starts to reopen, the CDC expects coronavirus deaths to skyrocket

Published May 4th, 2020 6:03PM EDT
Coronavirus deaths
Image: Erin Schaff/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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  • State and local economies around the US are gradually starting to open up again since the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced them to take extraordinary measures to limit people from being out in public to control the spread of the virus.
  • Protests around the country against those measures have started to multiply. Meantime, the Trump administration has now revised upward the number of Americans expected to die from the coronavirus — the total is now expected to approach 3,000 people every day through June 1.
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Around the US, states and cities are gradually starting to pull back on stay-at-home orders so that economies can start opening up again. It’s less about having seen a steady drop in coronavirus case numbers than a feeling that if people adhere to social distancing and hygiene guidelines, the virus should be manageable going forward. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has quietly adjusted its internal estimates upward regarding how many people are expected to die from the coronavirus — some 3,000 Americans a day through June 1, with President Trump himself during a TV appearance on Sunday night now putting the total figure at closer to 100,000, up from 65,000.

This is according to a government document obtained by The New York Times which, as businesses start to open up again around the country, projects an increase in coronavirus deaths from around 2,000 per day over the past week to closer to 3,000 daily. The estimates were modeled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and collected into a report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This increase in the expectation that more Americans will die from coronavirus going forward than previously assumed comes as protests and calls for the economy to reopen become more pointed, with even Tesla CEO Elon Musk in recent days offering an expletive-laced rant in favor of reopenings. Gun-carrying protestors last week also crowded inside the Michigan state capitol building to call for an end to the state of emergency there, a scene that White House coronavirus task force official Dr. Deborah Birx over the weekend described as “devastatingly worrisome.”

“It’s simple logic,” CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen told the cable news channel. “When you tell people, ‘Hey, you can go to bars, you can get your nails done, you can go to a restaurant,’ those numbers are going to go up.”

Over the weekend, thousands of people gathered in California to protest coronavirus restrictions there, and almost three dozen people were subsequently arrested at the state capitol. Meanwhile, the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University show that almost 1.2 million people to-date have contracted the coronavirus in the US, while almost 69,000 people have died.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.