On March 27, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, dropped a doomsday prediction about the coronavirus pandemic. Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the brother of Obama confidant Rahm Emanuel predicted that the number of Americans infected by COVID-19 would double every three to four days, adding that there would be 100 cases in four weeks’ time:
The front lines actually tell you what’s happening at the front lines. … What you’re seeing is major rationing in the country. … Primarily in New York, but it’s not going to be exclusively New York. This is not a virus that is just going to stay confined to New York.
Right now, if you look at the numbers, we probably have a million COVID-19 cases in the country. And if this is doubling every three to four days, that means that we’ll have 100 million people who have COVID-19 in about four weeks, and that’s a frightening thought.
On the date of Emanuel’s prediction, 80,735 Americans had tested positive for COVID-19, and 4,800 news cases were recorded. As of Apr. 8, the most recent date for which data have been compiled, there are 417,416 cases of the virus in the U.S. Unless something unprecedentedly awful occurs between now and Apr. 24, Emanuel’s prediction will be off in the best-case scenario by a factor of something like 100.