President Trump is again raising his estimate of the projected US death toll from COVID-19. "We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people," he said Sunday at a Fox News virtual town hall, per the New York Times. Last week, the president used a figure of 70,000. But Trump says the toll would be much higher had his administration not responded the way it has. "That's one of the reasons we're successful, if you call losing 80 or 90,000 people successful," he said at the Lincoln Memorial event, per CNN. "But it's one of the reasons we're not at the high end of that plane as opposed to the low end of the plane." Asked directly about the change to his death toll estimate, he said, "I used to say 65,000 and now I'm saying 80 or 90 and it goes up and it goes up rapidly."
The event, which featured questions submitted by viewers across the country, per Deadline, was called America Together: Returning To Work, and indeed, Trump said that though the virus has claimed more lives than he initially expected, parks and beaches as well as some businesses should start opening back up and schools should return to in-person classes by the fall. Earlier Sunday, White House coronavirus task force official Dr. Deborah Birx said on Fox News Sunday, "Our projections have always been between 100-240,000 American lives lost and that's with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance." At the town hall, Trump said that the actions taken by his administration prevented a far higher toll: "I’ll tell you one thing. We did the right thing and I really believe we saved a million and a half lives," he said, per the AP. (Read more coronavirus stories.)