Illustration for article titled Trump Doesnt Like the Massive Coronavirus Death Toll, so Naturally, Hes Denying the Numbers
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President Trump is a numbers guy. He likes high approval ratings, he likes a booming stock market, and he likes women who are “tens.” He likes numbers that inflate his already bursting ego past its breaking point. But there’s a number he doesn’t like at the moment, and he can’t get away from it: 71,000, the approximate number of Americans who have died from covid-19.

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This staggering figure would compel any competent leader to take on aggressive action to counter the virus, especially considering the fact that just a few weeks ago, Trump said that he expected a total of 65,000 covid-19 deaths in the United States by the end of the pandemic. But Trump isn’t a competent leader, so instead of confronting the reality of this number head-on—encouraging states not to re-open, making sure hundreds of thousands of Americans are tested for covid-19 every week—he’s assuming that the numbers are just wrong!

Axios reports that Trump has “complained to advisers about the way coronavirus deaths are being calculated, suggesting the real numbers are actually lower.” Apparently, many of his senior aides agree with him. Yet actual scientists suspect the number of covid-19 deaths in the United States are actually higher than the official reports suggest.

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From New Scientist:

Reported coronavirus deaths are typically severely ill people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in a hospital. However, many people who have died may not have been tested – especially those who died at home or in a care home.

And this, from the New York Times:

But the total death numbers offer a more complete portrait of the pandemic, researchers say, especially because most countries report only those Covid-19 deaths that occur in hospitals.

“Whatever number is reported on a given day is going to be a gross underestimate,” said Tim Riffe, a demographer at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany. “In a lot of places the pandemic has been going on for long enough that there has been sufficient time for late death registrations to come in, giving us a more accurate picture of what the mortality really was.”

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But try explaining this to Trump, a man who is more invested in appearing competent than actually being competent.


At least there’s one silver lining: Republicans are scared shitless about maintaining their hold of the Senate, a scenario that would have been an absolute pipe dream for Democrats just a few months ago. According to new polls in states with competitive Senate races, enthusiasm for Republican competitors is down, and Democrats are on the up and up.

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For example, in North Carolina, Democratic candidate Cal Cummings is beating incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis by nine points. In Montana, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock has an eight-point lead against incumbent Republican Senator Steve Daines. And in Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly is also enjoying an eight-point lead against incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally. Republican Senator Susan Collins isn’t safe either: Her Democratic competitor, Sara Gideon, is currently leading the polls by 2.5 points.

The 2020 election is still five months away, and if this year has taught us anything, it’s that literally anything can happen. This isn’t time for Democrats to get comfortable, but it is a prime opportunity to happily sigh—however briefly—about the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is probably incredibly fucking shook right now.

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  • Happy Nurse Appreciation Day! Trump doesn’t believe nurses who complain about a lack of PPE! [CNN]
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  • Trump also insisted that he didn’t need to wear a mask during his tour of a mask production factory in Phoenix. Sorry, Mike Pence did it first, dude.[NBC]
  • The Supreme Court is holding arguments via telephone now, and someone already flushed the fucking toilet without muting themselves. [CNN]
  • The headline speaks for itself: “Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree.” [New York Times]
  • The case of Ahmaud Arbery—a black man who was chased down, shot, and killed by two white men—will go to a grand jury. [CNN]
  • What could go wrong?
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  • Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey is selling some cool shirts of himself wearing a face mask, looking incredibly normcore.
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  • Bethany Mandel wants you to know that she’s not a grandma killer just because she wants to do shit that puts your grandma’s life at risk.

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.

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