Aug 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kushner defends COVID response: "We're still below the peak" of 2,500 daily deaths

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner defended the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, telling CBS News' "Face the Nation" that the current rate of deaths is "still below" the May peak of 2,500 per day and that "we know a lot more than we did five months ago."

Why it matters: The U.S. is one of the few wealthy countries that has failed to suppress the outbreak, reporting a total of over 5.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 170,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic — by far the highest death rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins.

The state of play: Other wealthy countries have seen terrifying coronavirus peaks, but the U.S. is one of the only ones to remain trapped near the summit.

  • Over the past several weeks, the coronavirus has killed Americans at six times the average rate in other rich countries. And the U.S. is recording about eight times more infections.
  • Daily case counts in the U.S. have declined, but still remain second-highest in the world after India.

What he's saying: "I believe the rate was about 2,500 deaths a day, so we're still below the peak. We have seen over the last two weeks that hospitalizations have come down," Kushner said.

  • "The president has taken a very aggressive approach, not just in the hotspots, but also what we call the ember cities, to push all the different measures we can take like wearing a mask, social distancing, using best practice."
  • "But most importantly, the president's really advanced the use of a lot of therapeutics, which is bringing the case fatality rate down. And obviously accelerating a vaccine — the fastest vaccine ever to a phase three trial was 13 months, and President Trump did it here in four months."
  • "At some point we'll get to the other end of this pandemic. ... We need to find a way to use the resources we need in order to live as normal a life as possible, while taking the restrictions that will help us save as many people as possible and to keep our economy as healthy as possible. So that when this is over, we haven't destroyed our country in order to get through it."

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