One of the more annoying aspects of the media during the Trump era is their penchant to try to “fact-check” things that aren’t untrue. That happened again this morning when Jake Tapper jumped in to attempt to call Trump a liar for this tweet.
There is a rise in Coronavirus cases because our testing is so massive and so good, far bigger and better than any other country. This is great news, but even better news is that death, and the death rate, is DOWN. Also, younger people, who get better much easier and faster!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2020
In a normal world, there’s nothing controversial about the above statement. Nowhere does the President claim there isn’t an increase in the positivity rate in some areas, nor that cases aren’t actually going up. What he’s pointing out is that comparisons to other countries are pointless because we are now testing at levels far higher than anyone else. This is likely in response to recent claims that the EU is doing better than the United States. In reality, the EU’s death rate continues to be higher and their testing is lagging. In the United States, we have not seen a spike in deaths, largely because the surge of new cases appears to be mainly among younger people.
Anyone that’s honest and not constantly changing their story for political reasons has said this would happen from the beginning. Flattening the curve was never to cure the virus because that’s not possible. It was the spread infections out over time until hospital capacity could be upped and therapeutics could become more effective. We’ve done both of those things and now it’s just a matter of time before most people in largely non-vulnerable populations get the virus. That will be true unless there’s a vaccine, which could still be many months away.
Tapper jumped in with this though.
Not true, per Asst. Health Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir: "There is no question that the more testing you get, the more you will uncover – but we do believe this is a real increase in cases, because the percent positivities are going up." https://t.co/vjdAUCJbXO
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 3, 2020
Yeah, sorry to have to correct the intrepid CNN journalist, but Trump’s statement does not contradict Giroir’s statement. Testing is always at the core of revealing more cases, regardless of positivity rates. If our testing was as behind as most other countries, we’d appear to have far fewer cases than we do. The positivity rate in Mexico, for example, is almost 50% now. Does anyone really believe they only have 239,000 cases? Of course not, and that was Trump’s point. The media should stop obsessing over cases totals, as CNN does with their ticker they never take down, and focus on death rates and rates of hospitalization. If the latter crosses a critical threshold, then you have an issue. If it doesn’t, there’s little you can do but treat patients and delay the spread with mitigation.
What Tapper is doing is reading into the President’s statement something he didn’t say. Ted Cruz saw Tapper’s post and decided to respond.
Jake, those two statements aren’t contradictory. ALL of the following are true:
testing is UP.
rate of positivity is UP.
total cases are UP.
fatality rate is DOWN.
deaths are DOWN.
We will defeat this virus. https://t.co/pFAf6M62On
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 3, 2020
This is correct. A month ago, the media were absolutely drooling over reporting of death totals and death rates. But when that became no longer politically expedient to report on, they suddenly switched to caring about total cases, which they ignored early on when testing was spotty and identified cases were low. See how this all works?
The reality is that total cases in Florida or whatever other red state CNN wants to target are largely irrelevant. What matters is who is getting infected and how many of them are dying. Perhaps there’s a story there for CNN to pursue that would meet their political sensibilities? It’s likely we will see some kind of small rise in deaths, though states like Florida will still have far outperformed states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
What’s not a story is blindly continuing to cite total cases and playing dumb about our testing capacity.