Trump Predicted the U.S. COVID Death Count Would Be Much Lower Than 100K — It's Now Surpassed 214,000

As the United States' death toll from coronavirus sits at over 214,000, comments made by President Donald Trump in April about the expected deaths from the novel virus have again been highlighted by Bob Woodward's book, Rage.

An excerpt from the book cites comments Trump made during a press conference on April 10 where the president told reporters that deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, would be "substantially under" the 100,00 deaths predicted via a model used by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

"The minimum number was 100,000 lives, and I think we'll be substantially under that number," Trump said at the time.

"I think numbers are just coming out where they're estimating 60,000 people will die. So we're talking about maybe 60,000 or so. That's a lot of people, but that's-- 100,000 was the minimum we thought that we could get to, and we will be lower than that number," he added.

Early estimates from White House officials indicated that the U.S. would see between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths over the course of the pandemic. However, officials warned that same month the number could be much higher if the U.S. did not follow proper COVID-19 recommendations and reopening measures.

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the current projection of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. by February 21, 2021, is 394,693. Over 7.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the pandemic began in March.

Trump has been accused of downplaying the virus since it reached the U.S. in March. In September, Woodward released a set of 18 tapes recorded between December 2019 and July 2020 where he interviewed Trump about world events and his presidency. According to those interviews, Trump knew of the severity of the virus and intentionally played it down to avoid panic.

"You just breathe the air and that's how it's passed," Trump told Woodward in a phone call on February 9. "And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus."

On March 19, the president told Woodward he downplayed the virus.

"I wanted to always play it down," he said. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

"Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states," Woodward writes in his book. "There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced."

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A stock image shows a group of people wearing masks. A group of scientists has proposed the idea of letting the coronavirus spread among populations while protecting the vulnerable. Getty

The Trump administration's Coronavirus Task Force, composed of the National Institute of Health and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci, task force coordinator Deborah Birx and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield,, have at times clashed with the president during the pandemic. In May, both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who oversees the task force, confirmed discussions were underway to phasing out the group in favor of another that would focus on reopening the country. Days later the president announced the task force would "continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN."

"We may add or subtract people," he added.