At a recent press conference, the Trump administration’s Coronavirus response team discussed projections that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could end up dying from the Coronavirus in coming weeks and months — and that toll, ominously, fits right in line with worst-case scenario projections that were issued by the Army on February 3 of this year. Those projections appear to have been largely ignored as a potential freak accident-like scenario, but if those in positions of power within the administration had taken the possibility seriously, more lifesaving preparations could have been undertaken weeks before Trump got around to actually taking the virus outbreak seriously.
That Army analysis included the projection that “between 80,000 and 150,000 could die.” It also suggested according to a worst case scenario that the Coronavirus could “easily be transmitted while Asymptomatic” — which has proven true — and that between 300,000 and 500,000 Americans may end up needing hospitalizations through the course of the outbreak. That number too is close to current projections that have been proven by the course of the virus’s spread; according to projections from the University of Washington, slightly over 300,000 hospital beds will be needed on the projected national peak day of the pandemic.
According to The Daily Beast, the dismal early Army assessment of a potential worst-case scenario “made it to high levels within U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the military command responsible for operations in North America and which aided civilian agencies’ early responses to evacuating and quarantining Americans abroad.” Those who reportedly received the document included NORTHCOM commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Army-North commander Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who is a political nominee of Trump himself.
O’Shaughnessy insisted at a Wednesday press conference that he’s “not going to talk about operational-level details nor would I talk about an actual operational plan or planning document,” but he admitted:
‘The reality of it is is that you want us planning for the worst-case scenarios, you want us planning for the what ifs—us thinking ahead into all those things that might and could possibly happen and that’s what we’ve been doing, not only on this particular effort but on a myriad of different threats we face to the homeland.’
These “worst-case scenarios” are slowly but surely coming to pass in the wake of officials in the administration like President Trump failing to take the threat of the virus seriously, a failure that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently called “deadly.”
Although Trump issued a Chinese travel ban shortly before the date of the Army’s assessment, weeks after, he called concern over the Coronavirus a “hoax” while his administration continued to fail to secure adequate supplies like large-scale Coronavirus testing capabilities for the United States.
That failure helped allow the virus to spread to its current massive levels, even though in late February Trump insisted, with no basis whatsoever, that Coronavirus spread in the U.S. “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” He was completely wrong.