President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.
- “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.
Reality check: The U.S. is averaging roughly 65,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths per day. The virus has already killed nearly 150,000 Americans, and it spread largely unchecked through almost the entire country throughout June and July.
The big picture: In the interview, which took place last Tuesday, Trump returned to familiar themes and areas where the U.S. really has made significant progress. He cited the dramatic increase in ventilator production, the ramp-up in testing and treatment that has reduced the overall fatality rate from the virus.
- Yes, but: He painted a far rosier picture of the pandemic than most data would support.
On testing, Trump said, “You know there are those that say you can test too much” — a view that no experts have advocated.
- The U.S. is experiencing long turnaround times for coronavirus testing, as Trump acknowledged, because of the high demand for testing. But that is largely a function of the country’s high caseload and the number of people at risk of infection.
He also returned to his mantra that “because we've done more tests, we have more cases.”
- The cases the U.S. has, we would have had with or without testing. We know we have them because of testing, but the massive outbreak here would be a massive outbreak whether we chose to know about it (through testing) or ignore it by not testing.
Trump also seemed to suggest that he did not trust South Korea’s coronavirus data, when pressed on that country’s more successful coronavirus response.
- There have been no serious allegations, from experts, international authorities or the U.S., that South Korea’s numbers are inaccurate.