Trump: Prepare for a very painful two weeks

Yep. Longer than two weeks, really, but since NYC will peak in two weeks or so and NYC will — hopefully — be the worst single local outbreak America has to endure, the most gruesome single-day death tolls are probably around two weeks away.

Word is that the projections being used by the White House track closely with the projections made by the IHME, which are available online. Peak deaths in the U.S. should arrive in exactly two weeks, to the tune of 2,200 dead — per day:

That won’t all come from New York. New Orleans will be accelerating around that time, as will the unfolding disaster in Florida, where there still isn’t a statewide stay-at-home order. If the projections are right, around 15,000 Americans will die in a single week in mid-April. That’s around four times the total number of Americans killed in action in eight years of the Iraq war.

Via Axios, here’s the graph that appeared behind Trump at today’s briefing. Fauci and Birx are all-in on 100,000 to 240,000 deaths, although they’re holding out a glimmer of hope that we’ll do better at social distancing and hold that number down:

It will be a small comfort to see daily death tolls begin to decline in mid-April, but I think we’re all preparing ourselves inadequately for what the second half of the month will look like. The epidemic curve is a bell curve; it doesn’t decline steeply once you hit peak deaths. If IHME is accurate, we should be reaching a total U.S. death toll of 30,000 or so by April 15. By the end of the month, that number will double to 60,000. Given Fauci’s optimism that the second wave of the outbreak this fall will be much better contained than the current one thanks to advances in U.S. capabilities, it makes me wonder when he and Birx imagine the bulk of American deaths will occur to produce the 100,000 (or 240,000) deaths he’s imagining. Do they think the second wave could be very bad even with the expected medical advances? Or do they think the death toll this month could be far greater than imagined?

It’s one thing to imagine, say, 150,000 people dying over the next eight months. It’s another to imagine 150,000 people dying over the next eight weeks. Which is it?

Things will get better eventually, after a very bad spell…

…but we’d be fooling ourselves if we think progress here is a straight line upward in every respect:

Is that because we’re running short again on tests, or because we’re running short on very basic implements needed to perform the tests, like nasal swabs?

I’ll leave you with this, one of the most dramatic Trump reversals yet. It was 22 days ago that he tweeted, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” Here he is 22 days later. I’m glad he’s got it now, even if it’s late.

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