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White House Lists “Ending The Pandemic” As An Accomplishment As Trump Continues To Hold Superspreader Rallies

In a press release, the White House claimed “ending the pandemic” as a “highlight” to introduce a lengthy document that lists the Trump administration’s supposed accomplishments.

Supporters watch a video of President Donald Trump while waiting in a cold rain for his arrival at a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan. October 27, 2020 | Getty Images
Supporters watch a video of President Donald Trump while waiting in a cold rain for his arrival at a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan. October 27, 2020 | Getty Images

The Trump administration has listed its pandemic response as an “accomplishment” in a new release, claiming that they’ve listened to experts and made swift moves to combat the virus — despite the surge in new cases nationwide, and while President Trump continues to hold rallies with crowds of people not wearing masks or social distancing. 

On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy sent out a press release detailing the “accomplishments” of the administration, with an attached document of “wins that changed the world over the last four years.”

In bold under “Highlights,” the email reads: “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 62-page document attached to the email did not say the administration “ended” the pandemic, but did praise its efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, the White House communications director Alyssa Farah said the press release was “poorly worded.” 

When pressed about the use of the word “ending” during a segment on CNN, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary Hogan Gidley said he “didn’t write the document” and he doesn’t “know who said that.” 

“But if the document said ‘ending,’ that would be wrong,” CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota said.

“I’m not looking at the document, I don’t know what the document says or how it characterizes the word ‘ending,’ but I’m not gonna quibble over semantics. The fact is we’re moving in the right direction,” Hogan said. 

“We’re seeing a reduction in deaths by 70 percent from the middle of March,” Hogan claimed, to which Camerota responded, “But almost 1,000 people still died [yesterday].” Around 1,000 people are still dying every day in the U.S. from COVID-19, even surpassing 1,100 in one day last week.

Hogan followed up by saying that they “can’t afford to shut down the country again.”  

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed the claims in a speech Wednesday afternoon, saying, “It’s an insult to every single person suffering from COVID-19 and every family who’s lost a loved one.”

More than 226,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 as of Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. That exceeds a prediction that infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci made in May, which several people saw as a high-end estimate at the time (200,000 deaths), and which Trump claimed would be much lower.

The White House’s lengthy document touting the Trump administration’s accomplishments does not mention that the U.S. has continued to lead the world in total confirmed case numbers and deaths for months. 

The news release came after the highest reported seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. On October 23, the U.S. had its highest single-day increase in cases with more than 85,000 cases, according to data collected by The New York Times. That’s an increase of more than 10,000 from the previous highest single-day increase in July, as cases surged across the country, especially in Sun Belt states.

Rural areas are being affected more than large cities, and Trump continues to hold rallies on the campaign trail packed with people mostly shown not wearing masks — rejecting public health experts’ recommendation to avoid large crowds, practice social distancing, and to wear a mask when around others or in enclosed spaces. 

According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, about half of Trump’s 22 rallies held between June and September were followed by a spike in cases in those counties, “suggesting the events may have led to community spread.” The study also found that counties with lower incidences of COVID-19 before the rally were more likely to have “a visible increase” after the event. A similar USA Today analysis of Trump rallies since mid-August said at least 5 counties saw outbreaks following the president’s campaign stops.