WASHINGTON (AP) — The actual crisis of the coronavirus pandemic and a manufactured crisis over voting fraud featured heavily in President Donald Trump’s misstatements during the 2020 campaign’s final week. Democrat Joe Biden went astray on trade as he assailed the president’s record on China.
Straining to make the pandemic look less dire than it is, Trump baselessly alleged that the death count is inflated by instances of doctors falsifying the cause of death. He produced no evidence of that, and there is strong contrary evidence that the death toll attributed to COVID-19 actually understates how many Americans are dying from it.
A sampling of political rhetoric from the week:
TRUMP: “You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that right? I mean, our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, ‘I’m sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.’” — rally Friday in Waterford Township, Michigan.
THE FACTS: No, the virus death count has not been overstated because of doctors lying to get more money. No evidence has emerged of such systemic fraud.
Almost 230,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been confirmed as of Saturday. The true number is almost certainly higher by a considerable margin.
As of Oct. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted 299,000 more U.S. deaths than would be expected in a normal year. Some of those deaths are sure to have been from COVID-19 — how many cannot be known.