MSNBC’s Chris Hayes floated the idea that the Trump administration purposely inflated the projected death tolls from the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to claim victory when the final death totals come in lower.
Hayes was reacting to Trump’s statement that if the final numbers come in below 100.000 that the administration can say they did a good job.
“If we can stay substantially under the 100,000 — which was the original projection — I think we did a very good job,”
That prompted Hayes to tweet this:
“The most cynical interpretation of all this, one I can’t quite bring myself to accept, is they rolled out the model showing 100k deaths after they knew it would be less than that so they could anchor everyone to that # and take a vicotry lap when ‘only’ tens of thousands died.”
The most cynical interpretation of all this, one I can't quite bring myself to accept, is they rolled out the model showing 100k deaths after they knew it would be less than that so they could anchor everyone to that # and take a vicotry lap when "only" tens of thousands died. https://t.co/hYiUCHhO5g 
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 8, 2020 
When Trump originally announced the 100,000 figure, Democrats and the media roundly criticized him saying that he was in effect willing to let tens of thousands of Americans die.
Hayes was heavily criticized on Twitter and tried to walk back the claim which didn’t satisfy 538’s Nate Silver, who tweeted back to Hayes that his theory didn’t hold up.
Yeah, that doesn't quite hold up. Nobody knows (and nobody ever knew) exactly how many deaths there will be and the room for uncertainty remains wide, i.e. anywhere from mid-5-figures to low 7 figures. https://t.co/tehzHbl9P8 
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 8, 2020 
The president and his administration are in a lose/lose situation when it comes to reporting on the coronavirus. They get criticized for projecting a possible death toll as being willing to let Americans die, and when they lower the number they are criticized tor purposely projecting a number that was overly pessimistic in order to claim victory for a lower death toll.