Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Trump Implies He Fared Better On COVID Than Biden, But The Facts Say Otherwise

"Far more people died this year than last," Trump is now pointing out in one of his latest statements from his pseudo-campaign website.

The former president is critical of President Joe Biden in his comments, saying that the coronavirus pandemic "has beaten him." 

Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia Commons
CC-BY-SA 2.0
The implication from him is that Biden has failed and Trump didn't, when it came to the pandemic. Of course, as is often the case when it comes to the former president, the opposite is true, for a number of easy-to-see reasons.

First, an acknowledgment: more people DID die this year than last. But it's important to note that the virus was in the U.S. for longer in 2021 (all 12 months) than in 2020 (the first reported death happened in late February, so only nine months out of that year saw substantial numbers). When you take that into account -- when you look at how many perished on a per-month basis -- 2020 was indeed a worse year.

Second, you have to consider that Trump was president through January 20, 2021, a time when COVID-19 deaths were at their highest point. After he left office, those deaths wavered off, thanks to vaccines that were developed (and yes, those vaccines were developed under his watch -- but the former president was hardly a proponent of the vaccines, both before after he left the White House). When you add that extra almost-month into Trump's totals, again, on a month-by-month comparison, Trump did worse than Biden.

Finally, there are newer variants that exist now that pose a greater challenge than the original COVID-19 strain did. Delta spreads faster than the original strain of the virus, which made things problematic in the fall months, and continues to pose challenges at this moment. At the same time as that all started happening, more places opened up (particularly Trump-leaning areas), with much of the nation even becoming more lax on masking requirements in public places.

But the real evidence of Biden having done a better job than Trump may lie in the fact that counties that voted for Trump last year are faring far more poorly than Biden counties are. Heeding Trump's advice and commentary on the virus over the past year and a half, his followers are getting sicker, and dying more often, than Biden's are.

I take no pleasure in acknowledging that fact. But it serves to showcase that Trump, far from being a better president when it comes to coronavirus, actually engaged in actions that caused catastrophic harm to his own supporters.