President Trump pushed back on reports that have cast the United States as the world’s worst coronavirus hot spot — and pulled out the charts to prove it.
“The United States has produced dramatically better health outcomes than any other country with the possible exception of Germany,” Trump declared at a White House briefing Saturday.
“On a per capita basis our mortality rate is far lower than other nations of western Europe,” he said.
While the US has reported a higher absolute number of deaths than the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and others, the rate of deaths per 100,000 people is considerably lower.
“Spain, for example has a mortality rate approximately four times that of the United States,” Trump said.
“But you don’t want to report it,” he told the reporters in the briefing room.
White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx backed the president with a bar chart that showed alarmingly high per-capita death rates throughout the European Union.
Belgium currently leads the world in this grim category, with 45 coronavirus deaths per 100,000. In Britain, 22 people per 100,000 have died of COVID-19 thus far.
The US, with 11 deaths per 100,000, is far back in the pack.
“With these numbers you realize how great the care has been for every American who has been hospitalized,” Birx said.
The chart also showed figures for Iran and China — both of which have admitted to relatively few deaths, despite suffering major outbreaks of the disease.
“Does anybody really believe this number?” Trump asked, pointing to the bars representing those two countries and breaking into Birx’s presentation.
“I put China on there so you can see how basically unrealistic this can be,” Birx said. “This is why the reporting is so important.”
“We saw more bags on television than that,” Trump scoffed.
Both Birx and Trump cited declining hospitalization numbers in hot spots nationwide, including New York, Louisiana, Michigan and Rhode Island.
“We continue to see a number of positive signs that the virus is past its peak,” Trump said.