As President Donald Trump continues to insist that his administration was caught off-guard by the arrival of coronavirus in the United States, a new report reveals that the U.S. Army was warning in early February that COVID-19 could kill as many as 150,000 Americans, according to The Daily Beast:
“An unclassified briefing document on the novel coronavirus prepared on Feb. 3 by U.S. Army-North projected that “between 80,000 and 150,000 could die.” It framed the projection as a ‘Black Swan’ analysis, meaning an outlier event of extreme consequence but often understood as an unlikely one.
“In other words, the Army’s projections on Feb. 3 for the worst-case scenario in the coronavirus outbreak are, as of this week, the absolute best-case scenario—if not a miraculous one.”
Earlier this week, White House medical advisers admitted that anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 may wind up dying from the virus, which has so far claimed the lives of nearly 6,100 in the U.S.
Also, a month after the Army briefing on the potential danger from COVID-19, Trump went on Sean Hannity’s show and adamantly insisted that the World Health Organization’s prediction of a 3.4 percent death rate from coronavirus was a “false number,” adding that “It’s not that severe.
But the casualty prediction wasn’t the only thing in the Army document that proved to be terrifyingly accurate:
“The black swan estimate correctly stated that asymptomatic people can ‘easily’ transmit the virus—a finding it presented as outside the contemporary medical consensus. Military forces might be tasked with providing logistics and medical support to overwhelmed civilians, the document warned. One potential task envisioned was “provid[ing] PPE (N-95 Face Mask, Eye Protection, and Gloves) to evacuees, staff, and DoD personnel.”
While there is no way to determine if the Army report reached the president, it most surely was seen by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who would have likely made the White House aware of the dangers faced when the virus reached the U.S. or American troops stationed overseas. And yet Trump still steadfastly maintains his administration had no advance warning about the lethality of coronavirus.
Despite these warnings, the administration did nothing to prepare the nation until early March, after Americans began dying. And even then Trump was downplaying the danger, commenting at a press conference:
“Within a couple of days (the number of cases) is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
The families of the thousands who have died since then would beg to differ.
Featured Image Via PBS