Pence told governors to use misleading claim to explain outbreaks: NYT – Business Insider
  • Vice President Mike Pence told governors in a call Monday to cite increased testing as an explanation for the recent spikes in coronavirus cases across the US, The New York Times reported.
  • Data analysis by the Times shows the claim, which has been touted by the Trump administration, is misleading, as “positive case rates are increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests” in at least 14 states.
  • On the call, the vice president compared coronavirus cases to “embers” to be stamped out. However, health experts, even including those at the White House, have iterated that there is a long road ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Vice President Mike Pence urged governors during a call to use a misleading claim to explain the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in coronavirus cases across the US, The New York Times reported Monday.

The claim, which has repeatedly been touted by the Trump administration, says the reasoning behind what Pence called “intermittent” spikes coronavirus cases in various states is increased testing, The Times reported.

“I would just encourage you all, as we talk about these things, to make sure and continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing,” Pence told governors, according to audio obtained by The Times. “And that in most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rise in number, that’s more a result of the extraordinary work you’re doing.”

“But also encourage people with the news that we are safely reopening the country,” he continued. “That, as we speak today, because people are going back to hospitals and elective surgery and getting ordinary care, hospitalization rates may be going up. But according to our most current information, hospitalizations for coronavirus are going down across the country.”

According to a Times data analysis, “positive case rates are increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests” in at least 14 states. White House health expert Dr. Deborah Birx also said that coronavirus hospitalization rates are on the decline, but that is not the case in some states.

On the call, the vice president compared coronavirus cases to “embers” to be stamped out.

“The president often talks about embers,” Pence said. “As we go through the summer, as we see, overall, as you all know, around the country, that despite a mass increase in testing, we are still averaging roughly 20,000 cases a day, which is significantly down from six weeks ago.”

President Donald Trump also remarked on testing on Monday, saying there would be very few cases of the coronavirus if the US stopped its testing and contact tracing. The comment was just the latest in Trump’s suggestions that more tests could make the country look bad by increasing the number of recorded cases, Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported. 

Health experts, even including those at the White House, have iterated that there is a long road ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who works with the White House coronavirus task force, said in a video interview with BIO Digital last week that the pandemic has evolved to become his “worst nightmare” due to its rapid spread in the US and around the globe.

“In the period of four months, it has devastated the world,” Fauci said.


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