Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515
Wyden Slams Trump Claim That He Has “Ended The Pandemic” As COVID-19 Cases Surge Nationwide
White House Continues to Push False Narrative As Infections Grow Across the Country
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today slammed new claims from the Trump administration that the COVID-19 pandemic is over despite record viral transmissions sweeping the country, and dire warnings that health care may soon need to be rationed as hospitals reach capacity.
On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a list of accomplishments that included “ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” suggesting that his administration had “taken decisive actions … to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”
“The claim that Trump has ended the pandemic wouldn’t pass the fact-checking desk at The Onion,” Wyden said. “It is an insult to people whose lives are being cut short for the Trump administration to list defeating COVID-19 as an accomplishment at a time when field hospitals are being set up around the country to relieve overflowing medical systems.”
“The president doesn’t have to look any further than the vice president’s office to know that the pandemic isn’t over,” Wyden added. ”Now, communities from Texas to Wisconsin are paying the price for Donald Trump trying to wish, explain and lie away a deadly disease that has taken more than 225,000 American lives.”
The White House’s blatantly false claims about the COVID-19 pandemic come at a time when all measurements point to a deteriorating public health situation in communities across the United States:
- Surging Infections and Deaths: More than 1.5 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 18,000 have died since October 1st, bringing the U.S. total to 8.7 million people infected and at least 226,000 dead.
- Hospitalizations Continue Breaking Records: COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen by 5% or more over the last week in 36 states, and the seven-day average of 70,000 new infections a day is the highest during the pandemic. One epidemiologist predicted the increase “is a harbinger of a very tough winter that’s coming.”
- Curfews, Field Hospitals, Personnel Reinforcements: Cities and states are hitting hospital capacity limits, leading El Paso, Texas to institute a curfew to curb transmission, set up field hospitals and bring in out-of-town medical staff to deal with the surge. Field hospitals in Wisconsin recently accepted their first patients as hospitals there reach capacity. Last week, Indiana ordered the National Guard to relieve exhausted staff at nursing homes across the state.
- Hospitals Warn of Rationed Care: The governor of Utah was recently warned by the state’s hospital association that medical providers may be forced to ration care within two weeks. In the face of dwindling bed capacity, the proposed rationing plan would prioritize younger patients over older patients, since older patients are more likely to die.
- COVID-19 Hitting Communities of Color Hard: The pandemic continues to exacerbate health inequalities experienced by communities of color in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that Hispanic, Black and Asian Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives were experiencing more three-to-five times “excess deaths” during the pandemic than their white peers. Similar racial disparities have been identified at nursing homes, as facilities with higher shares of Black and Hispanic residents were more likely to report at least one COVID-19 death.
- Second White House Outbreak: Several senior staff in Mike Pence’s office contracted COVID-19, a fact White House officials tried to hide from the public. Despite the potential exposure, Pence continued crisscrossing the country attending campaign rallies, flouting CDC and state recommendations calling for him to quarantine. The outbreak follows the Rose Garden Ceremony for then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that turned into a “super spreader” event, infecting dozens of people.
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