Is Trump Right About Coronavirus?
President Trump had some things to say about the coronavirus threat this week. Let's run some checks and see where he - and we - stand...
Statement: President Obama is to blame for delays in testing...
The story behind the story: amid criticism, President Trump said this week that he had to overcome an Obama-era Food and Drug Administration “rule” to expedite diagnostic tests for the American people. In fact, the Obama administration never implemented any such regulation.
Statement: COVD-19 cases are dropping.
Status: Not at the moment, at least here
The story behind the story: the president's statement contradicts what the Centers For Disease Control has to say. The CDC warns it is "extremely unlikely" the disease won't spread. In fact, it already has! (In China, there is evidence that the worst may have passed, and the sickness rate is indeed dropping.)
Statement: the president predicted the death rate from COPD-19 would be "a fraction of one percent."
Status: A definite maybe - long term
The story behind the story: the alarming predictions of a 1918-style wave of deaths is based largely on current reported deaths. Most experts believe the number of cases ureported is still pretty large.
As Reason.com's Ron Bailey reports: "The fact that the U.S. lags in testing for the virus means that public health officials do not have a good idea of just how many Americans are already infected. That makes it difficult to estimate the disease's real mortality rate.
"In contrast, South Korea has been more aggressive, testing more than 140,000 people for the virus. Doctors there have confirmed more than 6,000 cases, yielding a fatality rate of 0.6 percent."
So, there are a number of issues at play here. Our advice is not to panic and take everyone's opinions - including the president's - for what they are: educated guesswork.
Hopefully, we'll know more soon enough.
In the meantime, chill. And wash your hands.