Tuesday , December 1 2020

Fact check: Trump continues to erroneously claim that nails in cases of coronavirus are due to increased testing

“Fall up before we test, test, test. A false news conspiracy,” he said wrote on Twitter on Monday morning.
Trump made similar claims during the summer peak in cases. They were flat wrong then, as we explained in a fact check in July, and they are flat wrong now.

“To say that cases do not actually increase is to deny reality,” says Dr. Tom Frieden, who was head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President Barack Obama, in a Sunday statement.

Not only do cases and infections increase, but hospital stays – which follow cases increase by several weeks – and deaths – which follow hospital stays increase by a week or two – also increase. increased the actual spread of infection. “Frieden added:” The most reliable information is positivity, and it increased in all regions of the country. “

The national positivity rate as of Saturday was 6.1% per Johns Hopkins University data, up from 4.6% a month earlier.

If the increase in reported cases “was due to a very high level of testing, we would expect the proportion of tests that are positive to be very low, really less than 3%. But that is not what we see,” said Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at University of Michigan.

Worsened figures

On Friday, the United States set a new record for reported daily cases of coronavirus: 83,757, according to Johns Hopkins data. Until Saturday, the seven-day average for daily new cases was 66,970 – highest since the end of July.
The increase in daily cases exceeds the increase in daily tests. COVID Tracking Project, an initiative that collects and analyzes coronavirus data, tweeted on Saturday that “tests increased by 3.8% from a week ago, while cases increased by 20.6%.”
Trump has repeatedly suggested that the increase in confirmed cases be done simply because tests capture cases like the one he says his 14-year-old son Barron experienced. Barron, he has told his rally masses, recovered in “seconds” without any significant problems.

But the number of hospitals shows that many new Covid-19 patients become quite ill. Eleven states set new records on Saturday or Sunday for the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus, according to COVID Tracking Project data.

The national number of hospital stays hit 4,1882 on Saturday, according to the tracking project, the highest level since the end of August.

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told a virtual conference on Friday that “we are beginning to see hospital stays increase in 75% of our jurisdictions across the country.”

“Since the week ending September 26 … weekly hospital stays have increased for all age groups combined, mainly driven by an increase in the proportion of adults aged 50 and over,” the CDC said in its report for the week ending October 17.

You can already see the effects of hospitalization in communities around the country.

In the middle of a wave in El Paso, the Texas government has transformed a convention center into a makeshift hospital to free up space in regular hospitals. With the health care system in Wisconsin “overwhelmed,” according to Gov. Tony Evers, the state has opened a field hospital in the park where its state fair is held. Some Utah hospitals have been forced to open intensive care units for abundance because the permanent units have been filled.
“Our hospitals are overwhelmed and the stress they are experiencing is unsustainable,” said Gary Herbert tweeted on Thursday.
The good news that Trump has exactly pointed out is the fact that treatment for coronavirus has improved, which means that a smaller proportion of hospital killers die today than in the pandemic.
But as Frieden noted, the number of deaths is still begins to rise. The seven-day average per Saturday was 800 deaths per day, up from 738 a month earlier.

Testing does not create cases

Despite all the worrying information, Trump has continued to lean towards the same false message that testing gives cases. Trump said exactly the same thing at a Wisconsin meeting on Saturday and in his “60 Minutes” interview: “If we did half the tests, we would have half the cases.”

Of course, this is not true – in both obvious and less obvious ways.

The obvious: testing does not cause cases to exist. If the government does not register someone’s coronavirus infection, that person still has the coronavirus.

In addition, testing is a tool for combating pandemics that over time should help reduce the number of actual cases in society. Doing tests informs people that they are infected and should encourage them to take steps to avoid spreading the virus to others. (It is also important for the contact tracking process.)
Finally, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served under Trump as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 2017 to 2019, noted on Twitter that the demand for tests increases as more people experience symptoms of the virus. So the amount of tests performed is driven in part by the spread of the virus.

A pattern of playback

Trump’s attempt to wave off the rise in cases is part of his months-long attempt to minimize the severity of the crisis.

As he has dismissed the rising numbers, he has also continued to falsely claim that the country is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic, even though all major trends are rising, and that the pandemic is “disappearing”, even though he has baselessly made that claim for more than Eight months.
Experts have been clear: the situation is likely to worsen, not improve, in late autumn and winter, as temperatures drop and people spend more time indoors.
“We are likely to see a very dense epidemic. I think we are currently moving towards what will spread exponentially in parts of the country,” Gottlieb sa on CNBC on Monday morning.

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