I have spent a lot of time wondering how the coronavirus pandemic would have played out if we were under different leadership. Whether that be former president Barack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or someone else entirely. I cannot help but feel that many lives could have been spared if someone else had been able to make the calls.
United States COVID-19 cases continue to be reported by the thousands every day, and sadly, so do deaths. President Trump continues to undermine the death toll, even saying, “They are dying. That’s true. It is what it is.”
He also continues to spread misinformation, refusing to look at our death toll by population, and insisting that the death toll by case numbers is the only way to analyze the death rates.
Trump, in a recent interview with Axios on HBO, was trying to use the case fatality rate to determine how the U.S. is fairing in this pandemic. If we use that, then we seem to be doing much better than other countries.
Data from John Hopkins University ranks the U.S. at 24 against other countries for the highest case fatality rate, while we rank eighth for highest death rates per 100,000 population. When told that the U.S. ranks much higher in death rates based on population, Trump said, “you can’t do that.”
This is not the extent of Trump’s misleading comments or flat out lies, however. In fact, he has been lying since the beginning of the U.S.’s struggle with the pandemic.
In February, Trump tweeted, “… as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker and then gone,” despite the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that there was no evidence showing that the coronavirus would weaken in heat or humidity, and you could catch the virus no matter how sunny or hot it is.
In March, during a White House briefing, Trump made an off-putting comment about the halting economy leading to suicide rates that “definitely would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”
To me, that seems like manipulation at its finest. Basically, if we do not reopen the country, people are going to commit suicide. While suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., the number of people who died by suicide in 2017 was 47,000. The most recent data shows 180,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Trump has also claimed that while mail-in voting is corrupt, absentee ballots are okay.
Vice President Mike Pence talked about this as well in a Fox News interview saying, “Absentee balloting is perfectly acceptable… But this universal mail-in voting where you’re going to see literally ballots showered all across the state — it is ripe for fraud.”
AP Fact Check said, “Trump and his vice president are making a false distinction. Mail-in ballots are cast in the same way as absentee mail ballots, with the same level of scrutiny such as signature verification in many states.”
Thirty states, Idaho included, can request an absentee ballot without needing an excuse.
Another false statement Trump has made is regarding childrens’ “immunity” from the coronavirus. In a Fox News interview, he said, “Children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease, so few. They don’t have a problem, they just don’t have a problem. And I have watched some doctors say they’re totally immune.”
Just looking at the infection rates of children debunks this claim.
AP Fact Check said, “They aren’t immune. Although it’s true that children are less likely than adults to develop COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has nevertheless counted more than 250,000 infections by the virus in Americans younger than 18, or roughly 7% of all cases.”
Going through a worldwide pandemic that affects practically everyone in the world is enough of a challenge on its own without the U.S. having a government that consistently shows it does not care about its citizens. Making false claims about a deadly virus is deadly in itself, leading to the spread of misinformation throughout the country like wildfire.