President Donald Trump opened up his daily Covid-19 task force press conference by blasting the media for reporting official data that makes the US look bad, instead of pursuing allegations of a Chinese conspiracy.
“When the fake news gets out there and they start talking about the United States is number one… China’s number one by a lot. It’s not even close. They’re way ahead of us in terms of death,” Trump said just minutes into his daily briefing.
China could not have possibly done better than the “highly developed healthcare delivery systems of the United Kingdom, in France in Belgium, in Italy, in Spain, with extraordinary doctors and nurses and equipment,” argued White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Deborah Birx, who was trying to back Trump’s statements with a chart of death rates per capita around the world.
“Who believes these numbers?” Trump interrupted, pointing at China and Iran, and arguing that “we saw more [body] bags on television than that.”
“We saw more bags [i.e. bodybags] on television than that” — Trump interrupts Birx to question the number of coronavirus deaths reported by a number of countries (his implication is that the US hasn’t really been hit as hard relatively speaking as the numbers indicate) pic.twitter.com/DLaTm3S6fI
China revised its official coronavirus tally on Friday, with the authorities in Wuhan adding another 1,290 fatalities to the city’s death toll, accounting for the “incorrect reporting, delays and omissions of cases” in the early stages of the outbreak in the virus’ first major epicenter.
After the revision, China’s total death toll officially stands at 4,632 out of 88,242 confirmed cases. Meanwhile in the US, the toll from Covid-19 nears 38,000 fatalities out of over 720,000 confirmed cases, as of Saturday. This represents nearly identical 5.25 percent and 5.22 percent mortality rates among the officially detected and lab-confirmed cases. But when put into a “proper perspective,” the record numbers from the US do seem better than much of Europe’s, while China’s are “unrealistically” low (keep in mind that American tests are the “best in the world,” and forget the “draconian” measures that allowed China to halt the virus spread).
The World Health Organization (accused by Trump of colluding with Beijing to mislead the US about the Covid-19 threat) noted that other countries will likely have to follow China’s example and eventually revise their figures as well. The WHO, as well as multiple researchers, also noted that it makes little sense to track the constantly fluctuating case fatality rate until the pandemic is over, given the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of undetected asymptomatic cases.
Launching yet another attack against China, Trump said the question isn’t if Beijing is to blame for unleashing the coronavirus on the world and not stopping it “before it started,” but whether it was deliberate or not.
If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences.
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