President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, in which more than 200,000 people in the United States have died, has become a key issue in the upcoming election.
He has been criticized for downplaying the virus in its early stages and for the United States recording the highest number of Covid-related deaths in the world.
Asset: ‘We have one of the lowest death rates‘
The president compared death rates elsewhere with those in the United States, saying they were considerably lower.
I’ve heard that we have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, death rates in the world.
Comparisons between countries are not straightforward as there are different approaches to reporting coronavirus data.
The United States has both the highest number of cases and the highest number of recorded deaths of any country in the world.
However, when you look at deaths per capita – as a proportion of each country’s population – it is no longer at the top of the list, even though it remains in the 10 most affected countries.
- Is the United States the country most affected by deaths?
10 countries with the most coronavirus deaths per capita
Mr Trump also recently highlighted the growing number of new infections across Europe, saying: “Frankly, their numbers are at a much worse level than the numbers here. “
- Where are the global hotspots?
Certainly, some countries in Europe are experiencing an upsurge in new cases, but this is also true in parts of the United States.
Joe Biden: ‘President Trump ordered his administration to slow down coronavirus testing‘
At a rally in June, President Trump told the crowd, “I told my people, slow down the tests, please. ”
But he has since called his comments “half-irony.”
Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House’s foremost infectious disease expert, said: “To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down testing. ”
However, the president has called the testing a “double-edged sword” and says increased testing may give an exaggerated impression of the increase in cases.
Asset: ‘I take [hydroxychloroquine] and I’m still here… what have you got to lose?‘
In May, Mr. Trump announced that he was taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against Covid-19.
But there is no evidence that the drug can fight the virus.
The president has always advocated the use of the drug, against the advice of Dr Fauci, who said: “We know that every good study – and by good study I mean a randomized control study in which the data is firm and credible – has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of Covid-19. ”
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against the drug’s use to treat coronavirus patients, following reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” and other health problems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says “there is currently no evidence” that it is effective as a treatment or prevents Covid-19.
Biden: “President Trump tried to block CDC funding”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the government agency responsible for public health in the United States, had disagreements with the president during the pandemic over lockdown guidelines and other measures.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made the comment on Twitter in July without providing any context or evidence.
At the time, US lawmakers were negotiating a major coronavirus relief package, and there were reports in the US media that the Trump administration had been pushing to cut funding for the CDC.
However, the White House has denied the funding freeze, saying, “The statement by Biden’s team is false. In our last budget, the CDC saw an increase of $ 635million (£ 500million), an 8% increase. ”
That’s right, and the CDC received more money during the pandemic response.
The Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal 2021, starting in October 2020, initially proposed cuts to the CDC – but it is now poised to increase funding, including for infectious disease activities.
Trump: “We have provided rapid test kits to every nursing home in America”
Testing in nursing homes is important because the elderly are more likely to be vulnerable to the coronavirus.
In the early stages of the pandemic, there were a high number of deaths in nursing homes in the United States, as in many other countries.
The White House said Mr. Trump’s statement was accurate and that 4.9 million rapid point-of-care tests had been administered at nearly 14,000 certified nursing homes.
- How serious is the crisis in retirement homes in the United States?
According to figures from the CDC, there are 15,600 retirement homes, with 1.3 million inhabitants.
“Testing residents and staff of nursing homes has been difficult, as has been the case with other healthcare sectors,” says Professor Debra Bakerjian, of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing in California.
“Efforts to provide testing to nursing homes are progressing, but not smoothly,” she says.
Trump: “If you remove the blue states … we are really at a very low level”
President Trump has said Democratic-led states – known as the Blue States – are responsible for the high number of coronavirus deaths in America.
“If you do away with the blue states, we’re at a level that I don’t think anyone in the world would be at,” Trump said recently. “We are really at a very low level. ”
“Take out New York and some of these other Democratic-run states, you’ll see incredible numbers. ”
The Democratic National Committee tweeted in response, “Covid is not a red or blue state issue. ”
Of the five states with the highest number of coronavirus deaths, two are Republican-led “red states” – Texas and Florida.
US states with highest death toll in Covid-19
It is true that at the start of the epidemic, Democratic-led states such as New York and New Jersey were hit the hardest.
But as the pandemic progressed, Republican-led states had a greater proportion of deaths.
The Washington Post recently calculated that about 53% of deaths occurred in “blue” states and 47% in “red” states.