June's here, and it hasn't happened: Way back when, on May 5, the news report we have in mind was a big honkin' deal.
It appeared on the New York Times front page. On cable, it produced several tons of excitement.
Coronavirus deaths were going to soar! Ignore what Trump has been saying:
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.Good lord! As of May 5, the United States was suffering roughly 1,750 coronavirus deaths per day. According to the Times report, the Trump administration was privately projecting that the number would rise to roughly 3000 deaths 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.
In one fairly obvious way, the alleged projections didn't quite seem to make sense. If the number of coronavirus cases was going to rise all the way to 200,000 per day, why would the number of daily deaths rise to only 3000?
In the midst of all the excitement, we never saw that fairly obvious question asked or answered. And uh-oh! By 12 noon that very same day, NPR was already suggesting that the Times had possibly run with a set of projections which weren't exactly real.
That New York Times front-page report created a lot of buzz. By now, though, the first of June has come and gone, and those 3000 deaths per day haven't.
According to the numbers compiled by the Washington Post, the United States has averaged 765.3 coronavirus deaths per day in the first eight days of June. That pre-existing number in May didn't nearly double. Instead, it's dropped by well more than half.
We don't know where the numbers will go from here. We offer this update as a bit of a warning:
You can't necessarily believe the things you read on the Times' front page. With that in mind, was that alleged private projection ever an actual real projection? Or did the New York Times perhaps get out over its skis?
No one will ever remember or ask. The game isn't played that way.