Tags: Coronavirus | Donald Trump | chris wallace | covid-19 | death tolls

Wallace's Fake Death Tolls During Trump Interview

president donald trump and chris wallace sitting outside the white house
President Donald Trump interviewed by Fox News host Chris Wallace (Fox News)

By    |   Monday, 27 July 2020 08:29 AM

Chris Wallace, in an interview with President Donald Trump on July 19, disseminated four major falsehoods about America's coronavirus death tolls.

The Fox News anchor's first egregious fake epidemiology is that "we have the seventh highest mortality rate in the world."

The COVID-19 mortality rate can be measured by deaths per 100,000 people or a deaths-to-cases ratio, and President Trump and Wallace battled over the latter.

The website, www.statista.com., has the deaths-to-cases ratios for 148 countries, and the following table lists those for the 37 democratic, economic powerhouses who are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

COUNTRIES & DEATHS-TO-CASES RATIOS

Less than 1%: Iceland, Israel

Between 1% and 2%: Australia, Slovakia, New Zealand, Luxembourg

Between 2% and 3%: South Korea, Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Chile, Norway

Between 3% and 4%: Colombia, Estonia, Portugal, Japan, Austria, United States, Poland

Between 4% and 5%: Lithuania, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Greece

Between 5% and 6%: Slovenia, Switzerland

Between 6% and 7%: Ireland

Between 7% and 8%: Sweden, Canada

Spain: 10.5%

Mexico: 11.3%

Netherlands: 11.7%

Hungary: 13.6%

France: 14.1%

Italy: 14.3%

Belgium: 15.1%

United Kingdom: 15.3%

Thus, Chris Wallace was propagating fake COVID-19 death rates, as America ranks 18th among the 37 first-world countries in the OCED. Among the 10 countries with the largest GNPs, America has performed better than five: Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Canada. Furthermore, America's 3.58% "d-to-c ratio" is statistically equivalent to Japan's 3.53. (China, India and Brazil are among the world's 10 largest economies, but they aren't members of the OECD).

The second fake COVID-19 death statistic disseminated by Chris Wallace occurred during this testy exchange with President Trump:

President: Show me the death chart.

Wallace: Well, I don't have the death chart.

President: Well, the death chart is much more important [than the cases chart].

Wallace: But I can tell you, the death chart is a thousand cases a day.

In the non-fake-news United States, there have not been a thousand deaths per day between the end of May and the taping of the Trump-Wallace interview in mid-July. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes every weekday provisional COVID-19 death tolls by week and state, and here are the numbers for the seven weeks between mid-May and the end of June:

WEEK ENDING DATE DEATHS THAT WEEK
May 16 9,016
May 23 7,046
May 30 6,006
June 6 4,858
June 13 4,033
June 20 3,551
June 27 3,321

Thus, the daily toll plunged from 1,288 deaths in mid-May to 474 deaths a day in late June. The worst death toll was during the week ending April 18, with 16,961 fatalities, or 2,423 daily.

Since the CDC's provisional death totals lag by a few weeks, I will use the Atlantic Magazine's COVID Tracking Project (CTP) data for the daily death tolls in July, which are still much lower than 1,000 a day:

July 1 120,853
July 17 131,523

During these 16 days, there were 10,670 deaths, or 667 deaths daily, which is an increase from June's daily average, but not a catastrophic one. Moreover, it is more than 30% lower than 1,000 a day that Chris Wallace proclaimed during the taped interview with President Trump, which was broadcast on Sunday, July 19.

Chris Wallace's third and fourth odious falsehoods about the coronavirus epidemic in America are that there has been a "surge of the coronavirus across the country in recent months." In fact, only four states – California, Texas, Arizona and Florida – have seen a worrisome increase in coronavirus deaths, and they have only occurred in July, and not "in recent months":

STATE DEATHS JULY 1 DEATHS JULY 24
Arizona 1,720 3,142
California 6,090 8,186
Florida 3,650 5,768
Texas 2,481 4,717

(Data from the COVID Tracking Project)

The total increase in deaths in these four states, between July 1 and July 24, is 7,872. For all 50 states, 6 territories and the District of Columbia during this period, the number of deaths rose from 120,853 to 137,655, or by 16,802.

Thus, Arizona, California, Florida and Texas account for 46.9% of the death total this month through Friday, the 24th. President Trump was partially correct to state:

"Now we have somewhat of a surge in certain areas. And other areas we are doing well."

In fact, almost all states are "doing well."

However, these four states with the increasing death tolls, which rank among the Top 14 in population, still have deaths-to-cases ratios lower than both the national average, and from the states with the worst ratios. The CTP reports that America's has suffered 137,655 coronavirus deaths, out of 4,092,928 cases, or a deaths-to-cases ratio of 3.4%.

Finally, during last week's contentious interview, President Trump nailed Chris Wallace as a purveyor of "fake" news. While the Fox News anchor feebly replied that "I don't think I am fake news," his four  distortions on the No. 1 topic affecting 330 million Americans, coronavirus death tolls, have earned him the "Scarlet ‘J' For Fake Journalism."

Mark Schulte is a retired New City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Report's — More Here.

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Chris Wallace, in an interview with President Donald Trump on July 19, disseminated four major falsehoods about America's coronavirus death tolls.
chris wallace, covid-19, death tolls
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2020-29-27
Monday, 27 July 2020 08:29 AM
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