No, We Are Definitely Not ‘Rounding the Corner’ on the Coronavirus Pandemic

US Sets Record High for New COVID-19 Cases

A nurse gives a coronavirus COVID-19 test to seven year old Hector Mena at a testing site in a parking lot off Manchester Street in Lawrence, MA on Oct. 20, 2020. Lawrence is having a high positivity rate. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

By Keya Vakil

October 28, 2020

The White House released a press release on Tuesday celebrating the president’s success in “ending the COVID-19 pandemic”—even as the nation reported half a million new cases over the past week.

In a public relations campaign that would have made George Orwell cringe, the White House on Tuesday celebrated President Donald Trump’s success in “ending the COVID-19 pandemic”—even as the nation reported a record of more than 500,000 new coronavirus cases over the past week, hospitalizations have climbed by 50% in a month, and deaths continue to rise

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy made the bold claim in a press release highlighting Trump’s accomplishments during his first term. “From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease,” the release reads. 

RELATED: Team Trump Gave His Rich Friends—Not You—A Heads Up On How Bad COVID Would Be

In reality, the president and his administration have:

  • admitted that they downplayed the virus in public even though they knew the novel coronavirus was dangerous and “more deadly than even your strenuous flu” prior to the first confirmed death in the US; 
  • decided against a national testing strategy and instead passed the buck to the states, forcing governors to take extreme measures to source tests without the help of the federal government;
  • called the federal government a “backup” and lashed out at states for their requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) for nurses and doctors, resulting in supply shortages that put the lives of healthcare workers at risk. 
  • ignored public health experts’ advice on lifting restrictions too early and instead encouraged states to reopen to try to save the faltering economy, leading to waves of new cases across the country that ultimately hindered economic growth and led to tens of thousands of additional deaths;
  • mocked the idea of wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus, even as substantial evidence emerged of its effectiveness in reducing transmission of the virus;
  • admitted to ordering the slowdown of coronavirus testing because Trump didn’t want new cases identified.

Tuesday’s outlandish claim is just the latest example of the Trump administration’s efforts to minimize the severity of the pandemic. The president, who was hospitalized for COVID-19 earlier this month, has repeatedly said in recent weeks that the US is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus crisis, even as health officials like top infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have refuted that claim. Many have warned things could get even worse as winter arrives and people are forced to spend more time indoors. 

In fact, the virus is spreading at such a rate that the number of daily cases recorded could surpass 121,000 by Nov. 16, according to a projection from the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Unlike past surges, this one isn’t isolated to one part of the nation, either. The seven-day average of new cases is rising in all 50 states, according to the COVID Tracking Project, and hospitalizations have also risen in 47 states.

Pennsylvania health officials on Tuesday reported 2,752 new coronavirus cases—the largest daily increase to date. The state has had an average of nearly 1,940 new confirmed cases each day for the last seven days, up from about 920 per day over the last seven days of September, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That’s higher than in the spring, when the rate of testing was far lower and more targeted.

The seven-day average of hospitalizations in Pennsylvania is about 960, up from about 460 at the beginning of October, according to state data. The seven-day average of deaths is about 25, up from just below 12 at the beginning of October, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

It’s a scenario that could have been avoided, according to numerous studies. Most recently, a new study from the National Center for Disease Preparedness at Columbia University found that between 130,000 and 210,000 American deaths “could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership.”

“The US should have—and could have—done better to protect the nation.”

The report’s authors were not shy about pointing out who was to blame for the pandemic, pointing the finger at President Trump and his enablers.

“The US should have—and could have—done better to protect the nation, and particularly its most vulnerable populations, from a threat that was identified and recognized early in 2020,” researchers wrote. “The weight of this enormous failure ultimately falls to the leadership at the White House—and among a number of state governments.”

On Wednesday, White House communications director Alyssa Farah acknowledged that the press release was “poorly worded.” Moments later, however, she too embraced Trump’s favorite lie. 

“We are rounding the corner on the virus,” Farah said during an appearance on Fox News.

More than 8.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, 227,000 have died.

READ MORE: How Biden Wants to Go to War With the Third COVID Wave

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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