A new report dropped on Monday predicting that deaths from COVID-19 would increase to 3,000 per day by June 1, injecting new fears into the nation as the economy begins to reopen.
However, the report’s writer, Justin Lessler, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, came forward to reverse the claims of the report, saying that “it was not in any way intended to be a forecast.”
Lesser told the Washington Post on Monday that “the work contained a wide range of possibilities and modeling was not complete.”
Lesser continued that the data was presented to FEMA officials as an “FYI” of in-progress findings of the model but that “I had no role in the process by which that was presented and shown.”
The reopening of the US economy is predicated on death tolls from the novel coronavirus falling as the US enters summer, not rising. President Trump pushed back on the claims of the report almost immediately, criticizing it for not including mitigation measures in the calculation.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement about the alarming new report, explaining that the study is “based on faulty assumptions” and is not “representative of any federal government projections.”
“This “study” considered zero mitigation, meaning it was conducted as though no federal guidelines were in place, no contract tracing, no expansion of testing, while removing all shelter in place protocols laid out in the phased approach of the Opening Up America Again guidelines for individuals with co-morbidities,” she concluded.
A spokesperson for the CDC also rejected the report, saying that the release of the model had not been signed off by the agency.