White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told "Fox & Friends" Monday that there are facts and statistics — without citing any — to back up President Trump's claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless."

The big picture: Nearly 130,000 Americans have died from the virus, and FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn declined to provide evidence to support Trump's claim over the weekend.

  • While speaking at a Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, Trump said the U.S. has tested almost 40 million people and "by doing so, we show cases 99% of which are totally harmless," per Politico.
  • The number of tests completed in the U.S. is going up, but the number of new cases is increasing faster. The gap between testing and cases is generally largest in the cases with the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks, like Florida and Texas.

Between the lines: The president may have been referring to death rate estimates, but that "excludes a multitude of thousands who have spent weeks in the hospital or weeks at home with mild to moderate symptoms that still caused debilitating health problems," per the New York Times.

What he's saying:

"I don't even know that it's a generalization. When you start to look at the stats and look at all the numbers we have, the amount of testing that we have, the vast majority of people are safe from this. When you look at the deaths that we have, if you're over 80 years of age or if you have three what they call co-morbidities: diabetes, hypertension, heart issues, then you need to be very, very careful. Outside of that, the risks are extremely low, and the president's right with that and the facts and statistics back us up there."
— Meadows on "Fox & Friends"

Go deeper

Updated Oct 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

Oct 14, 2020 - Health

The pandemic isn't keeping the health care industry down

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Health care's third-quarter earnings season has started, and if the quarter is anything like the previous one, the industry will continue to fare relatively well even amid the broader economic turmoil.

The bottom line: The coronavirus dominated the spring and summer, which forced people to put off care, but people have resumed getting procedures and seeing their doctors.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 13, 2020 - Health

The stubbornly high coronavirus death rate

Reproduced from Bilinski, et al., 2020, "COVID-19 and Excess All-Cause Mortality in the US and 18 Comparison Countries"; Note: The units in the chart were corrected to show the deaths are per 100,000 people (not deaths per one million people.); Chart: Axios Visuals

Although other wealthy countries have higher overall coronavirus mortality rates than the United States, the U.S. death rate since May is unrivaled among its peers, according to a new study published in JAMA.

Between the lines: After the first brutal wave of outbreaks, other countries did much better than the U.S. at learning from their mistakes and preventing more of their population from dying.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!