President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, joined by Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, left, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, delivers his remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Friday, March 27, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
CNN continues to cover themselves in glory.
If you’ll recall, about a month ago, the liberal news network was trashing the President for suggesting that the death rates for Wuhan virus in the U.S. would be lower than some of the results we were seeing from other places. At the time, the rate was 3.4% globally, a number anyone with the ability to critically think should have been questioning.
Trump has misled before. He has not until now done so during a health crisis. Will federal institutions, such as CDC, Congress & friendly media challenge him? Or will roughly half the country take his word over the facts and experts? https://t.co/c7Z29o4jHn
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 5, 2020
While I’ve been careful not to go out on too many limbs in relation to the current pandemic (I’m not an expert and won’t attempt to play one), the 3.4% number was one that I called out at the time. It simply made no sense for a variety of reasons.
One, testing was lacking throughout the world at the time (and still is in most places). Therefore, anyone taking the total number of cases and dividing by the total number of deaths was using data that was obviously off by a large amount. Many, many more people are infected that diagnosed right now. This is apparent when you compare other countries to the United States, were we’ve now done more tests than any country in the world. As a result, we are seeing our death rate be much lower compared most other nations, with it sitting near 1% right now. The same is true of Germany, who had an early testing regime.
Further, not all health care systems are created equal. While Italy’s nationalized system was overwhelmed quickly, mostly due to their own refusal to limit the direct spread from China early on, the U.S. has a much more robust apparatus. That includes many more ICU beds, larger hospital capacities, and more skilled doctors and healthcare professionals. Common sense would have told anyone at the time of Trump’s comment that yes, we are going to see better recovery rates here.
Those facts aside, CNN sprung into action, bashing the President for his “hunch” that the death rate was far lower. Jazz Shaw over at HotAir wrote up some more examples from the network.
“Here’s what Chris Cillizza had to offer the following day on March 5th.
“No big deal — just the President of the United States contradicting the medical community on the mortality rate of coronavirus. What’s he basing his conclusions on? Oh, a ‘hunch.’”
And this was Brian Stelter’s contribution to the conversation also on March 5th.
“I hesitate to even print the United States president’s words here, because they’re so at odds with what health experts are saying. But the president’s statements to Sean Hannity are significant because millions of people were watching live.”
Well, CNN is changing its tune, as they are now reporting the death rate will be under 1% via a new study.
How many people die after being infected with the novel coronavirus? Fewer than previously calculated, according to a study released Monday, but still more than die from the flu.
The research, published in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, estimated that about 0.66% of those infected with the virus will die.
That coronavirus death rate, which is lower than earlier estimates, takes into account potentially milder cases that often go undiagnosed — but it’s still far higher than the 0.1% of people who are killed by the flu.
You don’t say?
Look, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t wait for more information before drawing a definitive conclusion, but it was not out of line for Trump to opine at the time that the death rate was likely much lower than 3.4%. Anyone with the ability to critically think could ascertain that. What CNN (among other outlets) at the time wanted to do was drive a wedge between the President and the “experts,” who themselves had all kinds of different estimates floating around. Instead of applying nuance to Trump’s comments, they chose to make it absolute. Either Trump agrees with what was an obviously inflated number at the time or he’s “disagreeing with the experts.” It’s a typical media tactic.
The American people would be bettered served by a media that’s not looking for the next gotcha, but is instead willing to give the full context of whatever issue they are covering. Unfortunately, we don’t have a media willing to do that, thus you get nonsense like this from CNN.