CLAIM: Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is catching a lot of flak for saying during a town hall on CNN Thursday, if President Donald Trump “had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive. All the people — I’m not making this up. Just look at the data. Look at the data.”
Echoing Biden, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the network’s chief medical correspondent, doubled down on Friday, making a similarly dubious allegation.
“A source told me last night” that Trump and his leadership “could have saved 80 to 90 percent” of Americans who have died of COVID-19 [coronavirus disease] this year had he acted sooner” in implementing a newly uncovered mask distribution plans that the administration reportedly nixed, Gupta said.
He did not name the source.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 18, 2020
VERDICT: FALSE. No data support the allegations. President Donald Trump’s administration provided guidelines for dealing with the virus, but ultimately left it up to governors to decide what to do. Several assessments show that most COVID-19 deaths took place in Democrat-run states and regions.
Even so-called fact-checkers at the Democrat-allied Washington Post, Politico, and PolitiFact assert Biden’s claim that Trump could have prevented COVID-19 fatalities has no merit.
The Washington Post reported:
Actually, Biden is making this up. There is no data to support this, even if the president had moved rapidly in January to deal with the coronavirus and been able to persuade the Chinese leadership to be more forthcoming about the situation. Even nations that have been praised for their handling of the pandemic, such as South Korea, New Zealand and Iceland, have suffered some deaths (377 in South Korea, 25 in New Zealand and 10 in Iceland).”
In the United States, with 50 states run by governors, policies have varied greatly. Trump has been faulted for not articulating a national plan, but he would have had trouble persuading every governor to follow the exact same path.
“Biden vastly overstated what protections could have worked against the virus. He argued that had Trump done his job, everybody would still be alive — not true,” Politico added.
“A more robust handling of the pandemic would likely have seen the country’s death count significantly reduced, experts said. But Biden’s claim that a different response from Trump would have prevented every coronavirus death goes too far,” PolitiFact reported.
Despite months of low infection figures, New York, run by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), far outpaces any other state in COVID-19 deaths with over 33,000 fatalities as of Friday afternoon, data maintained by Worldometer showed.
In comparison, New York’s deaths more than double those in neighboring Democrat-run New Jersey, the state with the second-highest number.
In May, the Pew Research Center noted:
The coronavirus outbreak has taken the lives of nearly 100,000 Americans. Yet since the start of the outbreak, the death toll has been concentrated in a just a few places – mostly large metropolitan areas, especially the New York City area.
According to Worldometer, Democrats lead the majority (6) of the top ten states with the most deaths.
Only three GOP-led states — Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Arizona — ranked in the top ten areas with the highest per capita fatalities (deaths per one million), including the nation’s Democrat-run capital, Worldometer data reveled.
Dr. Gupta’s claim also raised eyebrows on social media. He has yet to provide the name of the source. Breitbart News was unable to find any evidence to support the allegation.
“This seems really irresponsible,” writer Josh Jordan reacted on Twitter. “First, most experts were wrong early on because China was lying about the virus. Some of the states made horrific mistakes (looking at you, Cuomo) early on. I have no doubt Trump could’ve saved lives by not downplaying it, but not by 80%-90%.”
This seems really irresponsible.
First, most experts were wrong early on because China was lying about the virus.
Some of the states made horrific mistakes (looking at you, Cuomo) early on.
I have no doubt Trump could’ve saved lives by not downplaying it, but not by 80%-90%. https://t.co/jTSB5bNXdy
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 18, 2020
“Aside from being a preposterous number considering how every country dealt with it, there is quite literally no reasonable way to calculate this without making a ton of very speculative hindsight assumptions,” Noam Blum, the associated editor for the left-leaning Tablet Magazine, tweeted.
CNN failed to respond to Fox News’s questions as to whether or not the network backs Gupta’s reporting.