President Donald Trump is now trying to force the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to low-ball the coronavirus death count so the numbers look lower than they actually are, and Dr. Deborah Birx is directly involved in the scheme.
The official death toll so far in the United States has exceeded 83,000 and more than 1.4 million are infected.
The United States has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world, with the next highest total coming from the United Kingdom at more than 32,000.
And so, Trump is apparently desperate to doctor the numbers here so that the death toll doesn’t look as bad, and he’s apparently enlisted Birx and other White House officials to pressure the CDC to change the count.
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According to The Daily Beast:
The White House has pressed the CDC, in particular, to work with states to change how they count coronavirus deaths and report them back to the federal government, according to two officials with knowledge of those conversations. And Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the administration’s coronavirus task force, has urged CDC officials to exclude from coronavirus death count reporting some of those individuals who either do not have confirmed lab results and are presumed positive or who have the virus and may not have died as a direct result of it, according to three senior administration officials.”
Of course, the death toll is so high here that it would take a lot of revision to get it lower than the next highest death toll. So, it’s unlikely that lowering it even a little will make Trump happy. After all, he once said that 15 cases would turn into zero and that the pandemic would simply “go away.”
That did not happen and his recklessness and incompetence resulted in the disaster we are dealing with today. The CDC, however, is fighting back against Trump’s efforts to doctor the death toll, especially since the death toll is likely lower than it should be.
Officials inside the CDC, five of whom spoke to The Daily Beast, said they are pushing back against that request, claiming it could falsely skew the mortality rate at a time when state and local governments are already struggling to ensure that every person who dies as a result of the coronavirus is counted. Scientists and doctors working with the task force, including Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said the U.S. death toll count is likely higher than is being reflected in government data sets. And several local officials in hot spot areas said they’ve seen hundreds if not thousands more deaths over the last two months than in the same time period over the last several years. They presume many of those individuals contracted the coronavirus.”
Doctoring death tolls smacks of authoritarianism. Trump wants to make himself feel better because the death toll reflects poorly on his terrible response to the virus. Any attempt to lower the count is an insult to everyone who died on his watch. And Americans should be outraged that he would try to cover up the extent of his failure in this way.
Featured image via screen capture
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