Trump Continues to Mislead Americans on Coronavirus Threat as U.S. Reaches 8 Million COVID Cases

Last night during his town hall, as the United States hit 8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitals face a shortage of beds, Trump continued to downplay the threat of the coronavirus. And to make things worse, as America enters the third wave of the virus, Trump and his administration have failed to outline a plan to stop its spread, choosing instead to try to influence our public health agencies for Trump’s own political gain. 

When talking about the coronavirus at his town hall last night, Trump continued to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on masks and downplay the threat of the virus. 

CNN: “President Trump made a dramatic claim about Covid-19 during Thursday night’s town hall. ‘Just the other day, they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it,’ Trump said. It was a repeat of a similar claim he had made two times earlier in the day, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the source for that number. Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. A CDC study released in September, did not say that 85% of people who wear masks get infected with coronavirus. In fact, it did not even attempt to figure out what percentage of people who wear a mask get infected with the coronavirus.”

New York Times: “With 19 days until Election Day and cases of the virus rising again in much of the country, Mr. Trump said, falsely, ‘We’re coming around the corner.’ He added, ‘Vaccines are coming soon and our economy is strong.’ In reality, it is not clear when a coronavirus vaccine will be widely available to the public and no medical experts have agreed with him that the country, which on Wednesday saw at least 1,009 new coronavirus deaths and 59,713 new cases reported, is rounding the corner.”

Meanwhile, across the country, cases continue to rise to near record levels and hospitals return to sounding the alarm on looming bed shortages as the U.S. hits 8 million confirmed coronavirus cases. 

Washington Post: “For the first time since late July, the tally of newly reported coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 64,000 on Thursday. In 44 states and the District of Columbia, caseloads are higher than they were one month ago, and many of the new infections are being reported in rural areas with limited hospital capacity.”

New York Times: “As coronavirus cases across the United States climb toward a third peak, the country surpassed a total of eight million total known cases on Thursday afternoon, according to a New York Times database.”

Politico: “The coronavirus is engulfing big city hospitals in states including Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana that are running low on nurses and beds and are being forced to set up overflow facilities.”

And new data shows Americans are dying at rates much higher than other high-income countries. 

NPR: “During this pandemic, people in the United States are dying at rates unparalleled elsewhere in the world. A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that in the past five months, per capita deaths in the U.S., both from COVID-19 and other causes, have been far greater than in 18 other high-income countries.”

NPR: “Overall deaths in the United States this year are more than 85% higher than in places such as Germany, Israel and Denmark after adjusting for population size. Deaths in the U.S. are 29% higher than even in Sweden, ‘which ignored everything for so long,’ Emanuel says. Sweden made a point of refusing to order strict social restrictions and never went in to a full lockdown. ‘We have 29% more mortality than we should have if we’d followed Sweden’s path and Sweden virtually did nothing.’”

But Trump and his administration, instead of focusing on outlining a comprehensive plan to stop the spread of the virus, have tried to exert influence over public health experts for Trump’s own political gain. 

Associated Press: “The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the coronavirus pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence. The two appointees assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Atlanta headquarters in June have no public health background. They have instead been tasked with keeping an eye on Dr. Robert Redfield, the agency director, as well as scientists, according to a half-dozen CDC and administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal government affairs.”

Wall Street Journal: “President Trump and his advisers have taken a more hands-on role than previously known in shaping Covid-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helping create a crisis of confidence in the nation’s top public-health agency. The changes the White House has sought—in many cases successfully—go beyond the agency’s public messaging. White House advisers have made line-by-line edits to official health guidance, altering language written by CDC scientists on church choirs, social distancing in bars and restaurants as well as internal summaries of public-health reports, according to interviews with current and former agency and administration officials and their emails.”