Donald Trump can’t figure out which lie to tell about the coronavirus. While on the one hand, the White House has claimed that the virus is well contained, he is now stating that the official fatality rate above 3% is so high because thousands of un-diagnosed people have the illness.
Which is it, Mr. President?
A health crisis on the scale of coronavirus presents a unique puzzle for the Trump administration. While in the past Trump could blame the Democrats, disloyal Republicans or anyone advising him for anything that goes wrong, he can’t do that this time
During the early days of the U.S. outbreak of COVID-19, Trump called the illness a Democrat hoax and got his “task force” to claim that he had the disease controlled in an almost “airtight” perimeter.
The following interview with Trump’s top economic official Larry Kudlow has aged incredibly poorly, as he also claimed no emergency rate cut from the Fed.
Unfortunately for President Trump, these lies, unlike many of his political theories and accusations, are incredibly easy for ordinary people to disprove.
Faced with this reality, Trump has now isolated the extremely high fatality rate of the coronavirus as the focus of his attacks. He likely views this as one of the principal causes of fear that is rippling through his most important presidential barometer, the stock market.
Speaking on “Hannity”, Trump had the following to say on why the World Health Organization’s official fatality rate for the coronavirus is so high:
You never hear about those people. So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and or virus. So you just can’t do that… If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.
What Trump is saying here is that because only a few people have been tested, he believes the death rate is artificially high. For example, three deaths among 100 people confirmed is a 3% rate and Donald thinks it should be three deaths among 1,000 people, 0.3%.
Ultimately, this means that the President is abandoning his claim the disease is contained to state precisely the opposite. A complete 180 degree spin from his prior position. This is a big one, even for “Teflon Don.”
What makes this situation so ridiculous is that the White House is the Alpha and the Omega of the high death rate.
The CDC was not organized enough to ramp up testing (probably because Trump wants to keep confirmed cases down to soothe public angst), and thus inflated the fatality rate.
South Korea was testing 10,000 a day, while the U.S., a country with a population almost four times as high, can only manage a few hundred.
It’s a beautiful example of an administration that prides itself on controlling the dialogue, being utterly exposed by forces beyond their control for once.
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Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:03 AM UTC