by Douglas Messier
A week before the presidential election, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) set Twitter afire on Tuesday by crediting the Trump Administration with “ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Donald Trump has clearly not ended the pandemic, which has left more than 226,000 Americans dead and set a single-day record for new cases just last week.
The eye-popping claim was listed as the first accomplishment in a press release that accompanied the publication of a 62-page report trumpeting the administration’s science and technology achievements during Donald Trump’s nearly four years in office.
The press release also praised the administration for “returning to space exploration,” “understanding planet Earth,” “strengthening American leadership in industries of the future,” and “protecting our research enterprise.”
OSPT’s press release included a quote of extravagant praise from the nation’s foremost science and technology expert, model-turned-fashion-designer-turned-senior-advisor-to-her-dad, Ivanka Trump. Because…why not?
The specific section of the press release on the coronavirus read:
ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center reports the U.S. leads the world with 8,790,206 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 226,864 deaths. More than 42,000 are currently hospitalized with the deadly virus.
The United States reported a record 83,757 new cases of coronavirus on Friday. An additional 83,718 new cases were reported the follow day. Both numbers shattered the single-day record of 77,362 on July 16.
The rise in cases and hospitalizations has started to overwhelm hospitals in Utah and other locations, and could greatly increase the daily death toll, said Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Vice Dean Joshua Sharfstein.
“I think the projections that we could go from 1,000 to 2,000 [deaths] a day are not unrealistic,” Sharfstein told Bloomberg on Monday.
Health experts say that far from being decisives, the actions taken by President Trump and his administration have allowed the virus to spread in an uncontrolled manner, leaving hospitals and states to compete against each other for limited supplies and equipment.
Trump’s own statements have been erroneous and contradictory. At one point, he said the United States had 15 cases of the virus, a number he predicted would soon go down to zero. Another time, Trump said the virus would fade once the weather got warmer in the spring.
Trump has admitted downplaying the severity of the virus as to avoid panicking the American people. He claimed the limited number of COVID-19 tests being done was a good thing because it limited the number of diagnosed cases.
The president would later brag about how the United States led the world in testing as the number of tests increased. Trump has attributed the rise in cases solely to better testing and attacked the media. On Monday, he tweeted:
Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!
Sharfstein said the testing claim is flat wrong.
“Anyone who thinks that this increase is because of testing is completely wrong because we’re seeing these surges in hospitals,” he said.
Expert say part of the surge in cases is due to Trump himself. the president is still holding super spreader public events and campaign rallies where neither he nor many attendees are wearing masks.
An event at the White House resulted in multiple cases among top administration officials and supporters. There was even an outbreak in the office of Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the coronavirus task force.