Trump Promotes the Outlandish Claim That COVID-19 Has Killed a ‘Minuscule’ Number of Americans
Last spring the White House warned that COVID-19 could kill between 1.5 million and 2.2 million Americans with “no intervention.” But “with intervention,” it said, the death toll would be somewhere between 100,000 and 240,000. “By very vigorously following these [social distancing] guidelines,” President Donald Trump declared, “we could save more than 1 million American lives. Think of that: 1 million American lives.”
Forget all that, Trump implied today by retweeting a message claiming that the official COVID-19 death toll, currently about 187,000, is off by a factor of 20. “So get this straight,” says the summary of an August 29 Gateway Pundit post that was originally tweeted by Trump attorney Jenna Ellis. “Based on the recommendation of doctors [Anthony] Fauci and [Deborah] Birx the US shut down the entire economy based on 9,000 American deaths [due] to the China coronavirus.” Trump thus implicitly rebuked his own COVID-19 advisers (and himself) for grossly overstating the danger posed by the disease.
As Fauci, Birx, and Trump himself should have recognized at the time, the projection of as many as 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19 in the United States was never realistic. It was based on what now seems to be an overestimate of the COVID-19 infection fatality rate, plus the demonstrably wrong assumption that Americans would carry on as usual in the face of the epidemic. The contrast of a vaguely defined “intervention” with a counterfactual “no intervention” scenario presented a false dilemma that obscured the actual choices policy makers were confronting.
Now Trump, who has offered contradictory messages about COVID-19 throughout the epidemic, has swung to another extreme that is equally at odds with reality. The claim that only 9,000 or so Americans have died from COVID-19 is based on a misinterpretation of newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of August 22, those data indicate, “COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned” in just 6 percent of deaths attributed to the disease. The rest of the deaths involved an average of “2.6 additional condi
Article from Latest – Reason.com