October 24, 2020

Here's a debate fact check from NBC News:

Trump, defending his administration's pandemic response, claimed Thursday that "2.2 million people — modeled out — were expected to die" from the coronavirus.

Trump has made this claim previously — that original projections for coronavirus deaths in America said the country would lose 2.2 million people to the virus.

This is misleading. Trump is referring to a model published on March 17 by Imperial College London, which did predict that 2.2 million people in America could die from the virus, but only if no mitigation efforts whatsoever were in place.

In late March, White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told NBC's "Today" that the projection of 1.6 million to 2.2 million deaths referred to what could happen if America did "nothing" to stop the spread of the virus.

"If we do things together, well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities," Birx said at the time.

As of Thursday evening, there have been 223,262 deaths attributed to the virus in America, according to NBC News data.

This talking point also made its way into Trump's interview with Lesley Stahl:

And we closed it up and I saved millions of lives. Millions of lives we saved.

It's good that NBC is pointing out that Trump is comparing America's pandemic response to a complete non-response. And NBC isn't alone -- Daniel Dale made the same point last night on CNN.

But the problem here isn't just that Trump is holding himself to the wrong standard. It's that he's taking all the credit for what millions of us have done.

We've quarantined. We wear masks. We practice social distancing. We avoid gatherings. We avoid visits to elderly relatives. We avoid visits to non-elderly relatives. We avoid indoor time with people we're close to.

Many of us have employers that have told us to work from home. And governments all over the country, to varying degrees, have mandated measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Medical personnel and emergency workers have done heroic work. They've saved many lives, at great personal risk to themselves.

And yes, the Trump administration has done some worthwhile things.

But Trump is giving himself all the credit for the difference between 220,000 deaths and 2.2 million deaths. That's an insult to first responders, and to everyone else who's done something to make up for his administration's inadequate response.

I assume Trump isn't trying to deceive us. I assume he actually believes that the difference between our current death toll and the worst-case scenario is all due to him.

He should be called on this. He's insulting everyone who -- unlike him -- cares about saving lives.

Republished with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog.

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