Deaths lag behind cases, which skyrocket: Do you understand the New York Times' new front-page report?
Frankly, we do not.
We refer to the scary report which tops today's front page. It's been the lead topic among all the cables. It starts with some puzzling statistics:
STOLBERG AND SULLIVAN (5/5/20): As President Trump presses states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in coronavirus infections and deaths over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths on June 1—nearly double the current level.Do you understand those statistics? According to the Times report, projected "cases" will rise almost seven-fold, from the current 30,000 per day to 200,000 per day by June 1.
The projections, based on data collected by various agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and laid out in an internal document obtained Monday by The New York Times, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of May, up from about 30,000 cases now. There are currently about 1,750 deaths per day, the data shows.
("Cases" seems to be synonymous here with "infections.")
That would be a giant rise in "cases." But projected deaths lag far behind. According to the Times report, projected deaths don't even double. They only go from the current 1,750 per day to something like 3000.
Why would the projected rise in deaths lag so far behind the projected rise in cases? This is the featured report on the Times' front page, but at no point do Stolberg and Sullivan make any attempt to say.
They don't even note the apparent incongruity in these dueling statistics. So it sometimes goes in our nation's paper of record.
For what it's worth, paragraph 3 is also a pip. In paragraph 3, we learn this:
STOLBERG AND SULLIVAN (continuing directly): They are not the only ones forecasting more carnage. Another model, closely watched by the White House, raised its fatality projections on Monday to more than 134,000 American deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, by early August. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington more than doubled its previous projection of about 60,000 total deaths, an increase that it said partly reflects “changes in mobility and social distancing policies.”Oops! Even as its projections began to depart from reality to an extreme degree, the IHME was suddenly able to notice “changes in mobility and social distancing policies.”
Just like that, their projected number of deaths had doubled. Their forecast was back on track!
Returning to the basics:
To what extent does this new "internal document" represent an actual administration prediction?
We have no idea. But on their face, do those reported numbers make sense?
They make no apparent sense to us. That said, the Times didn't seem to notice. So far, we've seen no one explain.