White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx predicted back in March that the coronavirus pandemic would cause 100,000 to 200,000 American deaths as a best-case scenario. The CDC has reported just under 230,000 deaths as of Monday morning.
Birx, who has served alongside Dr. Anthony Fauci as a mouthpiece of the White House’s coronavirus response team, said at the time that the administration knew the coronavirus could spread very quickly and was acting to best prevent its spread.
As NBC News reports, she said, however, that even “if we do things perfectly” there would be a sizeable death count.
“I think everyone understands now that you can go from five to 50 to 500 to 5,000 cases very quickly,” Birx said in March. “I think in some of the metro areas we were late in getting people to follow the 15-day guidelines.”
Birx said the best case scenario would be for “100 percent of Americans doing precisely what is required, but we’re not sure that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another,” referencing images circulating online of people still congregating in big groups and ignoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Birx was also on “Meet the Press” on Sunday warning that “no state, no metro area will be spared,” a message she repeated Monday. Even if metro or rural areas don’t see the virus in the community now, by the time it does appear, the outbreak will be significant, she added.
Around the same time, Fauci predicted a high-end figure of 1.6 million to 2.2 million deaths should the administration do nothing to combat the spread of the disease.