(RightWing.org) – There are signs of disagreement between the Trump administration and the sometimes-controversial Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A new report from the agency predicts a late-May surge in coronavirus infections and deaths, in a shock warning that could threaten plans to get the country and economy moving again. However the dramatic figures have been challenged, and the administration seems wary of accepting them at face value.
So far in the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, most projections on the impact of the disease have been made by the White House’s specialist Coronavirus Task Force. Now FEMA has come up with its own estimates – and they’re not a good match.
- Last month, President Trump announced a prediction that up to 60,000 Americans could die from the Chinese virus. That number came from the Task Force’s work.
- However, now FEMA has produced its own estimate – and it’s far higher than the Task Force’s numbers.
- Right now, the US is seeing around 28,000 new cases and 1,600 deaths each day, and in many states, the trend is already heading down. It’s this falling trend that’s encouraging governors to start easing the lockdown restrictions, in the belief that the pandemic’s peak is now behind us.
- Now FEMA is predicting that, by the end of May, new cases per day could surge to a massive 200,000 – with deaths almost doubling to 3,000 daily.
- If the FEMA numbers are right, the obvious conclusion is that it’s far too early to talk about lifting restrictions, and we need to shelter in place for a while longer because the peak is still to come.
- However, administration sources sounded a cautious note on the FEMA estimate. Experts pointed out that FEMA’s numbers are based on raw infection rates and don’t take any account of the measures we’ve taken to reduce those rates – the lockdown, for example.
- There are also questions about just why FEMA’s numbers are so out of step with everyone else’s. For example, independent research by the University of Washington, using more detailed computer models, predicts that by May 25 the death toll will have dropped to around 100 a day.
- Sunday night’s Fox News town hall event suggests that the president is considering all possibilities. Talking about the pandemic, he pushed his prediction up from the previous 60,000: “We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” he said about the “horrible” situation.
- On the other hand, the White House warned that the FEMA paper hasn’t been vetted and doesn’t reflect the Task Force’s research.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere reassured the American people that the administration is working from the best scientific advice. “The health of the American people remains President Trump’s top priority,” he said.
Copyright 2020, RightWing.org