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Published Friday, October 16, 2020

The pandemic, the truth
and the election

By Steve Johnson
Democrats Abroad Costa Rica
Paid Article

January 28, 2020, President Trump was briefed by national intelligence on the coming Covid pandemic.

February 7 in a phone conversation with author Bob Woodward, Trump stated: "It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so, that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one."

February 7 Trump stated: the coronavirus would weaken “when we get into April, in the warmer weather.”

February 27 Trump stated: The outbreak would be temporary: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”

Multiple times Trump stated: “Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere,” and cases are “coming way down.”

March 6 Trump stated: “Anybody that needs a test, gets a test. We—they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful” and “If somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested.”

March 19 Trump stated: the FDA had approved the antimalarial drug chloroquine to treat COVID-19. “Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it’s—it was approved very, very quickly and it’s now approved by prescription.”

April 24 Trump suggested: medical experts should research the use of powerful light and injected disinfectants to treat COVID-19. Turning to Birx and a Department of Homeland Security science-and-technology official, he mused: “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? … It would be interesting to check that.”

May 11 Trump stated: America has “developed a testing capacity unmatched and unrivaled anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close.”

June 17 Trump stated: The pandemic is “fading away. It’s going to fade away.”

July 2 Trump stated: The pandemic is “getting under control.”

July 4 Trump stated: “99%” of COVID-19 cases are “totally harmless.”

July 6 Trump stated: “We now have the lowest fatality [sic, mortality] rate in the World.”

Multiple times Trump stated: “Children are “virtually immune” to COVID-19.”

August 27 trump stated: “the US launched the largest national mobilization since World War II” against COVID-19, and America “developed, from scratch, the largest and most advanced testing system in the world.”

September 10 Trump stated: America is “rounding the corner” and “rounding the final turn” of the pandemic.

As a result of these and other false and/or misleading claims made by the president, a group of researchers at Cornell University have conducted a study that concludes that President Trump is the single and largest purveyor of untruths about Coronavirus in the world.

The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus has been a failure by every measure, and Mike Pence owns that record more than anyone but his boss in the Oval Office. As chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since late February, Pence oversaw the federal response to the pandemic. As President Trump pointed out when he announced Pence’s role, “I’m having everybody report to Mike … Mike will report to me.” Since then, 215,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, more than 7 million have been infected, more than 400,000 small businesses have closed, and millions of Americans have lost their jobs.

The United States has lost more people to the Coronavirus than any other country in the world. The US has 4% of the world population, but 25% of its dead, yet president Trump cannot even control the outbreak in his own home or office. For context, Taiwan, home to 23 million people, reported eight new cases two weeks ago. In other words, there are more new cases in the White House than in Taiwan.

From the start of the pandemic, Vice president Pence and the Trump administration left states and health care workers without necessary protective equipment, failed to implement a national testing and contact tracing strategy, refused to follow the most basic health guidelines, and lied to the American public about the threat of the virus.

Experts agree far more tests are needed, with a recent report finding the U.S. needs nearly 200 million tests per month to control the pandemic. Trump and Pence let PPP funds meant for small businesses go to large corporations, Chinese firms, and companies owned by their donors and allies.

In contrast with Trump, Biden has repeatedly counseled the use of masks and social distancing, tactics he urged again last Tuesday in a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., where he condemned Trump’s efforts to sow conflict and expressed optimism that unity would get the country through the pandemic.

“Wearing a mask is not a political statement — it’s a scientific recommendation,” Biden said. “Social distancing is not a political statement — it is a scientific recommendation.”

In a direct rebuttal of Trump’s recent rhetoric, Biden added: “The pandemic isn’t a red- or blue-state issue. It affects us all and can take anyone’s life. It’s a virus. It’s not a political weapon.”

In interviews this week, Biden campaign advisers expressed eagerness to emphasize the contrast between the former vice president’s careful adherence to public health guidelines and Trump’s disregard for safety precautions.

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Editor’s note: The views or opinions expressed by the author are the sole and exclusive responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of A.M. Costa Rica. The newspaper does not accept liability for the writer's paid article.