80,000 dead by the end of the weekend. That’s the toll from Trump’s deluge of Coronavirus lies
Calvin Woodward and Hope Yen at the Associated Press introduced their updated fact-check story of the squatter in the White House Saturday morning with these words: “Truth can be a casualty when President Donald Trump talks about deaths from the coronavirus in the United States.”
True enough, although they could have ended that sentence at “talks.” His endless stream of lies passed the 18,000 mark last month, they calculate. That’s an average of 15 a day since January 2017 when he swore to uphold the Constitution. That was his first lie, though the fact-checkers don’t include it.
They do point out, however, that as of April 3, he had already told 350 lies about the coronavirus and the government response to it. Five weeks later, with the U.S. death toll from the virus pushing 80,000, those 350 lies have surely quadrupled, quintupled or worse. Unlike so many of his other lies, a lot of which are merely laughable claims of what an “incredible” job he’s done in his 40 months in office, his virus-related lies have serious impacts, encouraging people to take action and inaction directly injurious to their health and the health of others. Some of these lies merely give the idea that his policies are working and the White House response is the best that could possibly have occurred. Some say it’s all President Obama’s fault.
One of my favorites is his repeated claim that the United States has done a terrific job of testing for the virus, better than any other nation, better, he says, than all the other nations put together. Wretched nonsense, all part of his disinformation campaign:
In latest virus briefing, Trump repeats that U.S. has tested more than any other nation & then says more than all the other nations combined. Another lie: About 23 million tests worldwide so far. U.S. has done just under 20% of those. As for per capita testing? U.S. ranks 41st.
— Meteor_Blades (@Meteor_Blades) April 21, 2020
The numbers have changed since then. But the results are the same, yet Trump keeps making the claim. In fact, the United States has performed 8.9 million tests for the virus and continues to add another 200,000 a day, something epidemiologists say is, at best, half of what needs to be done. That may sound like a lot. But total testing worldwide (as measured by Worldometers) is 48 million. That means the U.S. is still testing at about a fifth of the world total as opposed to more than all other nations combined. More telling is the testing figure that matters most: The United States still ranks 38th in per capita testing worldwide.
This, obviously, is small potatoes compared to Dr. Trump repeatedly claiming it’s easy for anyone to be tested even as front-line healthcare workers and other Americans say there aren’t enough tests available. Not to mention the lie inherent in prescribing unvetted drugs and suggesting that drinking bleach or injecting disinfectant could be effective, statements that ensured some people would try out these techniques. No telling what he’ll come up with next.
One example from today’s AP story:
TRUMP, asked about a White House-endorsed model now showing 134,000 deaths from the coronavirus by August, doubling its previous prediction: “Those projections are with no mitigation. We are doing mitigation.” — remarks to reporters Tuesday.
THE FACTS: That’s incorrect. The projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation do take into account social distancing and other mitigation, which have begun to be loosened in several states at Trump’s urging.
Everyone no doubt has a particular lie of Trump’s that makes them blow steam out their ears. For me, it’s the relentless repeated lie that nobody could have seen this coming that tops the list.
He was warned. And not just casual warnings. Here’s the January 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment:
“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”
In 2018, then-director of the National Security Council’s medical and biodefense preparedness Luciana Borio said, “The threat of pandemic flu is the number one health security concern. Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no.”
Trump could have shown some of that “amazing” leadership he lies about having provided the nation and taken those assessments seriously. Instead, he has presided over a lame and falsehood-plagued response to the coronavirus that kills people. Whether with his initial it’s-a-Democratic-“hoax” to this week’s it-will-go-away-on-its-own-without-a-vaccine, Trump has proved that a 4th grade class president could have done a better job than he.
The House of Representatives should pass a resolution calling for Trump and top enablers Mike Pence and Larry Kudlow to be handed shovels to dig some of the thousands of graves their actions have made inevitable. Let his team turn that into a photo op. For the November campaign, let Trump brag about how many graves he dug and how deep they were.
(Crossposted with DailyKos. Cartoon CC by DonkeyHotey at Flickr.)