Trump foresees virus death toll as high as 100,000 in the United States

WASHINGTON — President Trump predicted on Sunday night that the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country may reach as high as 100,000 in the United States, far worse than he had forecast just weeks ago, even as he pressed states to reopen the shuttered economy. Mr. Trump, who last month forecast that fatalities from the outbreak could be kept “substantially below the 100,000” mark and probably around 60,000, acknowledged that the virus has proved more devastating than expected. But nonetheless, he said that parks, beaches and some businesses should begin reopening now and that schools should resume classes in person by this fall. “We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” the president said in a virtual “town hall” meeting at the Lincoln Memorial hosted by Fox News. More than 1,000 additional deaths have been announced every day since April 2 and while the rate appears to have peaked, it has not begun to fall in a significant, sustained way. The model embraced by the White House a monthago had assumed the death rate would begin to fall substantially by mid-April. Despite that, Mr. Trump indicated again that he favored lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions that have cratered the economy and put more than 30 million people out of work, arguing that the government had armed itself enough against the virus to be prepared to curb any additional outbreak even after people begin emerging from their homes to re-enter workplacesand other public spaces. But it will pass.” While he has previously expressed doubt about a second wave in the fall anticipated by public health experts, he conceded that it could happen. The president’s appearance on Fox, in which he sat at a distance from the hosts at the foot of the Abraham Lincoln statue and took questions sent by video from around the country, came in the middle of a furious debate in the United States about how and when the states should begin restoring a semblance of everyday life. It was not a big deal.” In forecasting the toll of the virus, the White House had relied on models by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which last month had predicted 60,415 deaths by the first week of August. “Hard to believe that if you had 60,000 — you could never be happy, but that’s a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking.” Because masks are meant to protect other people and he has been tested regularly, Mr. Pence said, he was in keeping with federal guidelines. “But I should have wore the mask at the Mayo Clinic.” The Fox town hall came on a day when Mr. Trump lashed out at former President George W. Bush, who called for national unity in a three-minute video message posted on Saturday. “Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat,” Mr. Bush said in the video, which was set against music and photographs of medical workers helping victims of the virus and of ordinary Americans wearing masks. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.” While Mr. Bush never mentioned Mr. Trump’s name, the sitting president clearly took the message as an implicit rebuke. In a Twitter message, Mr. Trump paraphrased a Fox News personality saying, “Oh bye the way, I appreciate the message from former President Bush, but where was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside.” Hours later, Mr. Trump went after another predecessor, reposting a tweet from a pro-Trump website accusing former President Barack Obama of plotting against him. “Evidence has surfaced that indicates Barack Obama was the one running the Russian hoax,” said the original message retweeted by the president. Mr. Bush’s video message was part of a series of videos aired online as part of a 24-hour live-streamed project, “The Call to Unite,” that also featured Oprah Winfrey, Tim Shriver, Julia Roberts, Martin Luther King III, Sean Combs, Quincy Jones, Naomi Judd, Andrew Yang and others.