The Numbers Are Understated

The numbers referred to in today’s title deal with the coronavirus and “understated” is a polite way to say the Trump administration is cooking the books. Let’s explore.

It began with the attitude Trump displayed early in the public’s awareness of the crisis when Trump hesitated to let Americans on a ship just off shore come home because it would negatively impact the numbers. It has only gotten worse over time and today’s article will concentrate on the last month.

On July 15th the Trump administration pulled the responsibility of collecting and reporting coronavirus numbers from the CDC, where it had rightfully been for decades, and given the responsibility to HHS (Health and Human Services) where Trump had more sycophants in high positions. Not that HHS took direct responsivity; they delegated it to a private concern, Tele-Tracking, via a $10 million no bid contract. The exact opposite of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy they took something that was working well and “repaired” it. This simply never passed the smell test.

Monday, NBC reported that there is no comprehensive report of infections in K-12 schools. That whole system is fractured and the best “excuse” given is privacy. To me that smacks too much of not releasing federal loan/grant data because it would compromise the privacy of the recipients. With colleges beginning to open they predictably have become the new hot spots for COVID-19 infections. The Trump administration’s attitude is still one of “Jump in the water’s fine”. This is a case where wishful thinking will be fatal in some cases.

One of the right wing’s talking points through this entire crisis has been that the numbers are inflated. That is demonstrably untrue! Yet like other zombie lies they keep repeating it. Just look at the normal amount of deaths in America and compare it with the official number of coronavirus deaths. There is a serious gap. If not the pandemic what accounts for those other deaths, the Red Sox’s poor start?

If a person dies without first having tested positive for the virus their death is not included in the official count. We know, especially during the high points at various “ground zeroes”, many people out of desperation and/or lack of health insurance coverage chose to take their chances at home and ended up dying there.

There are lies of commission and lies of omission; sometimes the line is very thin.

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