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Task force reports show dire reality despite Trump's positive messaging

Rogue Valley

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Task force reports show dire reality despite Trump's positive messaging

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8/31/20
As President Donald Trump was painting a positive picture of the coronavirus pandemic and urging states to reopen the nation's businesses and schools, data from the White House coronavirus task force released Monday shows he was getting increasingly dire reports about the spread of the pandemic in July and August. The House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus on Monday published eight weeks' worth of state reports compiled by the White House task force. "Rather than being straight with the American people and creating a national plan to fix the problem, the President and his enablers kept these alarming reports private while publicly downplaying the threat to millions of Americans," subcommittee Chairman James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said in a statement. The most recent of the eight reports released by the subcommittee is dated August 9. Since then, the course of the pandemic has changed, improving in some places and getting worse in others. The 459-page August 9 report has a section for each state, which includes extensive data on the state's cases down to a county level, as well as detailed, private recommendations to state and local officials to slow the spread, including promoting social distancing and face coverings, implementing contact tracing, and closing bars and nightclubs in "red zone" states.

The "red zone" indicates there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population and/or test positivity is above 10%, per the task force's definition. There were 20 states in the task force's "red zone" as of August 9. On the same day that report was released, Trump claimed that coronavirus cases were rising due to increased testing, which is disproven by the many states in the report with rising test positivity rates -- meaning the proportion of people who test positive compared to negative, which can signal a burgeoning outbreak. "Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!" he tweeted, going on to advocate for the reopening of schools in press conferences that week. The more granular data in the report show how Trump has sought to spin good news and cherry-pick positive data. Just one of the previous reports had been made public, the July 14 report, which was obtained by journalism nonprofit Center for Public Integrity. That report showed 18 states in the "red zone" and called for the rolling back of reopenings, including the closing of bars and gyms in many places. The White House is lambasting the subcommittee's decision to release the reports.

Despite dire numbers in the 459-page August 9 COVID report, Trump was telling Americans that the situation was all sunshine and balloons and to "reopen everything!".
 

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He has been downplaying the pandemic since the beginning.
 
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