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White House Press Release Wrongly Claims Trump Has Defeated COVID

As of Sunday, the seven-day average for daily new coronavirus cases being reported was at its highest this year.

A member of the Secret Service wearing a face mask stands guard as President Trump speaks to supporters from the Blue Room balcony during an event at the White House on October 10, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) published a news release on Monday asserting that the Trump administration had put a stop to the coronavirus pandemic — a dubious claim given that the nation is seeing its highest rates of new cases being reported since the crisis began.

In a release titled “Trump Administration Releases Science and Technology Accomplishments from First Term,” the OSTP purported that President Donald Trump had achieved many feats when it came to promoting science.

“President Trump has solidified America’s standing as the most scientifically and technologically advanced nation the world has ever seen…. We have achieved a proud record of results, and under President Donald Trump’s leadership, science and technology will continue to inspire us, unite us, and guide us to ever great progress,” OSTP Director Kelvin Droegemeier said.

Among the Trump administration’s supposed accomplishments, the document celebrated the president and his staff for “ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease,” the release said.

Those comments, however, come within just a few days of the coronavirus pandemic reaching its highest levels yet, in terms of new diagnoses being made, demonstrating that the accolades are wildly incorrect.

The seven-day average of new cases being reported daily is at an all-time high, showing 68,767 new infections as of last Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking of the virus. The last time numbers were that high was back in July.

On both Friday and Saturday, more than 83,000 new cases were reported, with Saturday’s total being the highest single-day number of new diagnoses recorded since the pandemic began (Friday being the second-highest).

The Trump administration’s claims that the virus has been defeated are patently false for another reason: Members of his own executive staff continue to get infected with coronavirus. Most recently, at least five members of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump has expressed frustration over the continued focus on the pandemic in the news, deriding the media as “losers” earlier this week for reporting on the record-high rates. Trump also called the reports on the growing number of infections “a Fake News Media Conspiracy” in a tweet on Monday.

The president’s angst has been noted in his campaign stops as well, where he has made it a point to belittle the media for reporting on the pandemic, oftentimes by repeatedly saying “COVID” into the microphone while making his complaints. Trump’s grievances have been noticed by former President Barack Obama, who, while campaigning on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, suggested Trump was upset in part because the virus was getting more media attention than him.

“What’s his closing argument? That people are too focused on Covid,” Obama recently opined. “He said this at one of his rallies. Covid, Covid, Covid, he’s complaining. He’s jealous of Covid’s media coverage.”

The Trump administration’s supposed accomplishments in promoting science during his four years in office have previously been questioned by a number of notable and reliable sources, including Scientific American, which, for the first time in its 175-year history, endorsed a presidential candidate (Biden) in reaction to the anti-science approach Trump has demonstrated.

“The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people — because he rejects evidence and science,” the publication’s editors wrote in September in explaining its unusual decision to endorse a candidate.

Beyond the “most devastating example” of coronavirus, Scientific American also cited the president’s refusal to accept climate change as a reason for its unusual decision to speak out against a second Trump term.

“In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it,” the editors wrote. “The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.”