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As President Donald Trump weighs whether to ease social distancing guidelines intended to slow the spread of coronavirus one of his top health advisers predicted Sunday as many as 200,000 Americans could die from the disease.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, projected millions of Americans will contract COVID-19 and between 100,000 and 200,000 people could succumb to it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s worst-case-scenario earlier estimated at least 200,000 could die from the virus this year. 

Public health officials reiterated the grim estimates Sunday as the Trump administration weighed whether to extend its 15-day guidance to slow the spread the virus. Trump has said he wants to lift recommendations that Americans work from home and avoid discretionary shopping, but also said he would consider input from health experts.

“Looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000” deaths,  Fauci told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’re going to have millions of cases.”

It would be interesting to know what, in formulating this estimate, Dr. Fauci is assuming in regard to the maintenance or intensification of suppression measures that his titular superior obviously wants to eliminate as soon as possible.

A grim prediction: Should anything like this estimate prove accurate, the right wing line will be something like “We wrecked the economy to stop a disease that was only three times worse than a normal flu season.” (This will be identical to the “logic” that you can get rid of the Voting Rights Act because its continuing enforcement has greatly ameliorated the abuses it was enacted to stop).

On a related note, the COVID-19 mortality numbers being published by the Chinese government appear to be pure garbage, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has dealt with that government’s official statistics in areas like finance:

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