For the past six months, the American people have been subjected to an unprecedented effort by the media and Democrats in Congress to rewrite the history of the coronavirus pandemic, and it has real consequences for our ability to fight the virus and reopen in a smart and safe way.
Every single American death from this pandemic is a tragedy that we will never forget. With the benefit of hindsight, we will slowly grow to see how our response could have been strengthened and what missteps we made along the way. It is important to remember that decisions are made on the basis of the information you have at the time, not what you learn after the fact.
We learn more every day, but the media and Congressional Democrats have had their minds made up from the start.
Flip on the news or flip open a national newspaper and you’ll find unwavering negative spin: to them, every decision President Trump has made during the virus outbreak has been destructive, and any clearly beneficial decision either didn’t go far enough, wasn’t implemented properly, or – as a last resort – may lead to “complacency” as case numbers improve.
Though the scale of loss from this virus is staggering and sobering, it’s important to remember where the models showed we could be. On March 29, Dr. Deborah Birx referenced two models of projected virus fatalities, with one – the so-called “blue mountain” - estimating between 1.5 and 2.2 million Americans could lose their lives to the coronavirus by August 1 without mitigation efforts.
Every major media outlet reported that the Coronavirus Task Force predicted 100,000 to 240,000 Americans would lose their lives even with mitigation. As Dr. Birx said on NBC’s TODAY the next morning about defying those projections through strong mitigation efforts: “If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get into the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities.”
President Trump made the unprecedented decision to shut down large sections of the American economy for fifteen days, and later to extend those guidelines for another thirty. The President asked us all to do our part to flatten the curve and bring those projections down from millions to 200,000.
The country responded, and millions of Americans faced incredible hardship to do their part to slow the spread. Though those original projections were quickly forgotten, it was Americans’ embracing President Trump’s national guidelines for “fundamental changes to how we live, work, and interact each and every day” that made those numbers an impossibility.
President Trump took similar action to prevent several other predictions from coming true as well.
The media said we’d run out of ventilators. We didn’t, because President Trump seized his authority under the Defense Production Act to ramp up a government and private sector response unprecedented since World War II.
They said our hospitals would be overrun. President Trump mobilized the Army Corps of Engineers to rapidly build emergency field hospitals and retrofit convention centers to provide thousands of extra hospital beds. Thankfully, most of them never saw a single patient.
Further, President Trump directed his Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue a broad range of temporary regulation waivers and new rules to give the healthcare system the flexibility to rapidly increase treatment capacity.
On February 2, while the media and Democrats in the House and Senate were still obsessed with their impeachment scheme, President Trump was restricting travel from China to slow the rate of new infections on our shores. As someone who sat for the entire impeachment debacle, I can tell you firsthand that Democrats in Congress and the D.C. press had only one thing on their minds this February, and it wasn’t refilling the national strategic stockpile of N95 masks which had been depleted and not restored by the Obama administration.
On March 22, when Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York would need 110,000 hospital beds based on curve predictions, President Trump deployed the hospital ship USS Comfort to the Hudson River and approved plans to turn the Javits Center into an emergency hospital.
When the state hit its peak in April, New York had 19,000 patients hospitalized. While President Trump received praise from Governor Cuomo for delivering for New York, the media quickly pivoted to their next doomsday scenario and ignored his strong response to the projections.
Due in large part to these and other actions taken by President Trump, the U.S. has weathered this pandemic better than many other countries. Currently the U.S. ranks 8th in COVID-19 deaths per capita in countries with more than 50,000 cases – lower than the United Kingdom, Belgium, Peru, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and Chile. Yet the media constantly and misleadingly reports that the U.S. leads the world in total coronavirus deaths without adjusting for population to create the most negative impression possible.
This constant negative spin has real consequences for Americans’ health and safety.
President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is an unprecedented all-hands-on-deck mobilization of American industry to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, and we are already seeing promising progress on clinical trials. Yet in Pew Research’s most recent survey, 27% of U.S. adults said they would not receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it comes to market. That becomes less surprising when you consider how intense and uniform the media’s negative spin about the White House’s coronavirus response has been.
We should all be proud of the sacrifices we have made and continue to make to help slow the spread of this disease. In the past six months we have learned a great deal about how to treat and mitigate the spread of this terrible disease, and a smart reopening for our economy and our schools requires clearheaded decision-making guided by the facts and not by resentful ideology.