President Donald Trump desperately tried in vain to portray former Vice President Joe Biden as a bigger threat to public health during the debate Thursday night, humiliating himself and getting brutally fact-checked in the process.
In 2009, the H1N1 swine flu virus hit the United States. The Obama administration took comprehensive action and only 12,469 Americans died. Coronavirus, meanwhile, has killed 223,000 Americans since February when Trump treated it as a “hoax” despite knowing all along that it was far deadlier than the common flu.
Yet, Trump attempted to compare the response to H1N1 to his own response to coronavirus.
“He didn’t move quicker,” Trump said of Biden. “He was months behind me, many months behind me. And frankly he ran the H1N1 swine flu and it was a total disaster. Far less lethal, but it was a total disaster. Had that had this kind of numbers, 700,000 people would be dead right now. But it was a far less lethal disease. Look, his own person who ran that for him who as you know was his chief of staff, said it was catastrophic, it was horrible, we didn’t know what we were doing.”
It should be pointed out that Biden was not president in 2009. Also, the Centers for Disease Control attributed the comparatively low death toll in the United States to Obama’s “complex, multi-faceted and long-term response” considering that over 500,000 people died of H1N1 worldwide.
Furthermore, Trump has been taking former Biden chief of staff Ronald Klain’s words out of context because he was talking about over-reliance on vaccines. He even clarified his remarks in July and strongly criticized Trump’s reckless and incompetent response to the coronavirus.
“What I was trying to say was that if one relies only on vaccines as your major strategy, and vaccines are late then you are screwed, and really bad things can happen,” Klain said. “Of course H1N1 was beaten without much use of the vaccine. Of course, you could argue that what Trump has been doing the past few months — downplaying testing, downplaying masks, downplaying tracing and other public health measures, while promising a cure/vaccine is ‘just around the corner’ — proves my point: The U.S. death rate from COVID post-June is unmatched in the world.”
In fact, the H1N1 flu was less deadly than the common flu, which kills between 20,000 to 60,000 every year. Trump’s claim that coronavirus is no worse than the flu has always been a complete lie.
In short, the Obama administration did not just rely on vaccines to get the job done, and performed fantastically when it comes to public health.
Trump says H1N1 2009 was a disaster.
2009 and 2010 were the years with the lowest all cause mortality rates in UNITED STATES HISTORY.
— Jeremy Faust MD MS (ER physician) (@jeremyfaust) October 23, 2020
Trump, on the other hand, has been obsessed with developing an immediate vaccine since it became clear to the public just how bad this pandemic is and how bad it looks on him in an election year. But he has largely abandoned other actions or has dismissed them entirely while insisting that a vaccine is conveniently just “weeks away” with Election Day approaching even though one will likely not be ready until next year. By then, the death toll will be nearing or will have already crossed the 300,000 mark.
And yet, Trump still won’t take responsibility, as he demonstrated during the debate by claiming to take responsibility and trying to shift the blame at the same time.
“I take full responsibility,” Trump said. It’s not my fault that it came here, it’s China’s fault.”
— The Recount (@therecount) October 23, 2020
As you will recall, Trump said just months ago “I don’t take any responsibility at all” for the crisis when asked about it back in March.
Make no mistake, Trump’s actions and lack thereof are to blame for this virus having killed so many Americans. We have the highest death toll in the world, and that’s not China’s fault. The death toll in China is under 5,000 despite having the largest population on the planet. The United States population is 328 million, a billion less people than in China, yet we still have the highest death toll. That has everything to do with the leadership of our nation and nothing to do with where the virus originated.
Trump has made one bad decision after another during this crisis and things will not improve if he gets another four years.
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