Trump splits from top health officials amid latest wave of coronavirus in US
“You know our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID (-19),” he told the crowd, explaining how Germany and other countries attribute the deaths of some patients with coronavirus from other causes if these patients suffer from additional health problems.
“With us, when in doubt, (doctors) choose COVID,” he said. “It’s like $ 2,000 more, so you get more money. It could only happen to us.
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The president made the comments at the end of a week when about 1,000 people had died almost every day from COVID-19, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins University.
Experts from the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have said the official national death toll, which now stands at more than 229,000, is likely an undercount.
Cases have also worsened considerably, reaching around 100,000 in Friday alone, setting a world record for a country’s single-day workload. Infections are increasing in the majority of states, as are hospitalizations, according to the CDC.
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16 U.S. states reported their highest one-day coronavirus infections on Friday, while 13 states were at record levels of hospital patients with COVID-19, according to Reuters.
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A statement from the American Medical Association released Friday said that “Trump’s suggestion that doctors – in the midst of a public health crisis – overestimate COVID-19 patients or lie to line their pockets is a malicious, scandalous and completely wrong accusation.
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“Rather than attacking us and making baseless accusations against the doctors, our leaders should follow the science and urge to follow the public health steps that we know to work – wear a mask, wash your hands and practice physical distancing Association president Susan Bailey said in the statement.
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Trump’s claim of “more money” may refer to the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) law passed by the US Congress, which Trump himself enacted in March. The bill reimburses hospitals for the treatment of uninsured patients and elderly people covered by Medicare.
But there is nothing in the Physician Bonus Payments Bill to classify the deaths as COVID-19 related.
Trump also sparked an uproar when he made the same statement during another campaign stop in Wisconsin on October 24. The American College of Emergency Physicians said it was “appalled” by Trump’s “reckless and false claims”.
“Emergency physicians and other healthcare workers risked their lives day in and day out for nearly a year battling the biggest public health crisis in a generation,” the university statement read. , “While watching countless patients die on their own, without going to work without adequate protective equipment and grappling with overwhelming anguish of falling ill or transmitting the virus to their loved ones. “
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The Council of Specialty Medical Societies released a statement backed by the Society of Hospital Medicine, calling Trump’s claims “baseless” and “an affront” to doctors and other health workers.
“Many doctors have agreed to pay cuts to ensure that struggling medical practices and health facilities remain open to their patients,” the statement said.
Trump has stepped up false claims about the virus in the last few weeks of the presidential campaign, repeatedly claiming the country is “bypassing the turning point” in the pandemic as cases escalate.
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Earlier this week, the president – who himself contracted the virus in early October, requiring three days of hospital treatment – claimed COVID-19 was a “media conspiracy” against him.
On Friday, House Democrats released a report condemning the Trump administration’s pandemic response as “among the worst leadership failures in American history.” At least six million Americans have been pushed into poverty and millions more are out of work, he said.
The 71-page interim report also says investigators have identified more than 60 instances in which Trump administration officials have quashed or dismissed top scientists to advance the president’s political interests.
“The administration’s response to this economic crisis has benefited big business and wealthy Americans, while leaving behind many disadvantaged communities and struggling small businesses,” the report said.
: With files from Reuters
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