On Monday, August 10, the White House released a fact sheet about "President Trump's Historic Coronavirus Response." It is — perhaps unsurprisingly — full of shit. While I suppose one could argue that any action taken during a 21st century pandemic is inherently "historic" inasmuch as it has no historical precedent due to the unstoppable forward progression of time, this is not what the brief is actually arguing. Instead, it makes such claims as:
- Took early action to cut off travel from China
- Built the world's leading testing system from nothing
- Enacted mitigation measures to slow the spread
- Mobilized public and private sectors to secure needed supplies
- Took action to protect vulnerable Americans
- Launched effort to deliver a vaccine and therapeutics in record time
- Provided support to workers and businesses
- Paved way for reopening to get America working again
- Surged resources to hot spots as they arose
- Confronted China as origin of the virus while Democrats and media cowered
Some of these might raise an eyebrow; others are deliberately vague and platitudinal enough to maybe pass muster, at least at first glance.
But the fact-checking team at Medium has done a fantastic and comprehensively-linked breakdown of each and every one of those "historic" responses — and succinctly eviscerates most of it.
They do give credit where it's due as well; for example:
The U.S. was neither ahead or after the curve in restricting travel from China. The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30. The same day, the State Department raised its travel advisory for China to "Level 4 — Do Not Travel." In doing so, the U.S. was acting in accordance with many other countries. According to ThinkGlobalHealth, a Council for Foreign Relations program that has tracked the countries that have imposed travel bans on China, 36 countries including the U.S. had imposed travel restrictions by February 2.
So yes, congratulations to President Donald J. Trump for gleefully enacting his xenophobic policies right when the W.H.O. that he despises recommended doing so for non-xenophobic reasons.
Anyway, if you're looking for a comprehensive resource for fact-checking the US coronavirus response, Medium's got you covered.
Fact-Checking President Trump's 'Historic Coronavirus Response' Brief [Coronavirus Blog Team / Medium]
Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead (Public Domain)