Sundance is referring to the projections at IMHE's COVID-19 Projections. For the record, while I've long been aware of that site and its projection model, I have refrained from linking it or even--to the best of my recollection--discussing it. The reason is because I've always been skeptical of their model. I'm obviously not an expert in modeling, but I find the view that the US was relatively late to the pandemic and that the pandemic took some time to start spreading as a "community" disease to be persuasive. My understanding of this model is that it has always tended to the view that the virus has always been a community spreader. In my understanding, that would naturally lead to projections on the high side.
Agree or disagree with me--those are simply my reasons for shying away from IMHE's model. I cannot credibly make any projections of my own. My position has always been that, based on what we know about SARS-Classic and the increased infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 and based also on the experience of other countries that have been slow to take quarantine measures, this pandemic really is a Big Deal. Of course I want the total mortality to be low, rather than high. But I believe that can only be achieved through action--not by trying to wait this thing out.
IMHE has become a bit of a boogey man for many conservatives who want to believe that this pandemic is not a Big Deal. Thus, sundance, in reporting that IMHE has lowered its projections to 'only' 60K, attempts to make light of 60K deaths:
[T]he total projected number of COVID-19 related deaths has been dropped to 60,000. That’s the same impact as the regular 2017/2018 flu season.
Really? The 2017-2018 flu season was "regular"? Just yesterday, in Reminder: Covid19 Is Not The Flu, I addressed that "regular" flu season. In point of fact, the 2017-2018 flu season was one of the longest and deadliest flu seasons since 1918. In fact, it was the deadliest in 10 years--and it wasn't even close. Only once in the past 10 years has the death toll from the "regular" flu season exceeded 30K. At 60K, the 2017-2018 season was anything but regular. Here's how one expert who has been all over the media re Covid19 reacted to that supposedly "regular" flu season in September, 2018:
“That’s huge,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. The tally was nearly twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said.
Ultimately, honest really is the best policy. Especially when you're talking about life and death matters. Perhaps because the flu has, in point of fact, proved very difficult to deal with, we do tend to be a bit blasé about it. Maybe this pandemic, which seems to piggyback on the flu, will lead us to reconsider that attitude.