Internal FEMA document projects spike in daily coronavirus death toll, but data questioned

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An internal document featuring charts produced by FEMA projects far more new coronavirus cases than the White House has forecast and nearly double the current daily death toll by the end of the month — but sources have raised questions about the reliability of the data.

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere stressed that the document is not from the White House, and that it hasn't been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force.

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“This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting,” Deere said in a statement. “This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed.”

Fox News has confirmed the existence of the document, which was first reported by The New York Times. Sources told Fox News that while a significant portion of the data comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the projections of new cases and deaths come from modeling done at Johns Hopkins University.

Those projections claim that by the end of May, there will be 200,000 new coronavirus cases and 3,000 deaths every day. This is a significant jump from current numbers of roughly 25,000 new cases and 1,750 deaths each day.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House task force, has seen the document even though it has not officially been presented to the full task force.

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While such projections are sure to raise concerns about plans – at the national and state level – to begin reopening parts of the economy, sources said the modeling behind these projections did not take into account mitigation guidelines during that phased reopening. Further, they noted some of the data in the report was out of line with other projections.

Meanwhile, several states have begun to gradually reopen their economies and are relaxing restrictions from stay-at-home orders. None of those states, however, have abided by the White House's recommendation to wait for a 14-day decline in cases before beginning the reopening process.

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Deere said the Trump administration's guidelines for reopening “are a scientific driven approach” that leading health and infectious disease experts agreed with.

“The health of the American people remains President Trump’s top priority and that will continue as we monitor the efforts by states to ease restrictions," he said.