Ok, what I see is an opinion piece in which the writer quotes an offhand remark
or guesstimate for the US. No study, no citations, no assumptions, nothing except a quote. I agree it seems irresponsible to throw out a number like that, either the columnist or the epidemiologist (if he really said that).
But the headlines and articles and tweets I read today was weren’t about the US number, they claimed this scientist was walking back his estimate for the U.K., which is well documented in a published paper. Usually comparing his worst-case scenario for the U.K. to his best-case scenario (actually better than his published best-case), and claiming it proved his model was wrong. Which of course is false and makes no sense.