WASHINGTON (AP) — “I believe we’re rounding the corner.” “We’re a winner on the excess mortality.” “We have the vaccines coming and we have the therapies coming.” “We have done an amazing job.”
President Donald Trump sees in the pandemic what he wants to see. He seemed to acknowledge as much when he was challenged on stage a few days ago for repeatedly and thoroughly misrepresenting a study about masks.
No, the study did not find that most people who wear masks get COVID-19. Most people don’t. But, “that’s what I heard and that’s what I saw, and — regardless….”
Regard for the facts is not a hallmark of Trump’s campaign for the Nov. 3 election or of his presidency.
His assurance, heard for weeks, that the U.S. is rounding the corner on the coronavirus is belied by rising infection in the vast majority of states and higher deaths in 30 by week’s end, as well as by a surge in Europe. This as the flu season approaches, another layer of risk to health.
As for Trump’s claim that he’s done an amazing job on the pandemic, that’s part of a record in office that voters are judging now and until polls close for the Nov. 3 election. He and Democratic rival Joe Biden bid for late advantage in competing forums that replaced a canceled presidential debate.
Meantime, the Senate vetted Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court with committee hearings that often seemed to put the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” on trial.
Some statements from the past week and how they compare with the facts:
TRUMP, asked about the many attendees at a White House event who got sick with COVID-19: “Just the other day they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it.” — NBC forum in Miami on Thursday.
NBC’S SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: “Well, they didn’t say that, I know that study.”
TRUMP: “Well that’s what I heard and that’s what I saw, and — regardless, but everybody’s tested and they’re tested often.”
THE FACTS: That was at least the third time the same day that he flatly misstated the findings of a federal study and the first time he was called out on it. The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not find that 85% of mask wearers catch COVID-19. If that were so, the majority of Americans would be infected.
It found something quite different: that 85% of a small group of COVID-19 patients surveyed reported they had worn a mask often or always around the time they would have become infected. Dining in restaurants, where masks are set aside for meals, was one activity suspected of spreading community infection. The study not declare masks ineffective.
Trump told a North Carolina rally earlier in the day: “Did you see CDC? That 85% of the people wearing a mask catch it, OK?” And to Fox Business News: ”CDC comes out with a statement that 85% of the people wearing masks catch it.”
Source: AP News