The Trump administration’s projections for U.S. deaths from the coronavirus pandemic may be half the actual toll because they aren’t fully accounting for the nation’s high prison population, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
Models that properly account for the roughly 740,000 people in jail in the U.S. on any given day suggest the country will experience “much higher death rates” than currently projected if inmate populations aren’t reduced rapidly, the organization said in a statement about its findings on Wednesday.
The group said it based its estimate on the administration’s projection of 100,000 fatal coronavirus cases in the broader population, saying it undercounted deaths by 98%. The 100,000 figure was actually at the low end of a range topping out at 240,000 put forth by the White House coronavirus task force at the end of March.
Earlier this month, the administration revised its estimates for deaths from the coronavirus to around 60,000.