President Donald Trump and Axios reporter Jonathan Swan squared off on coronavirus statistics in an interview released Monday, with Trump objecting to data that makes the U.S. look bad.
The moment came when Trump and Swan disagreed over what the U.S. coronavirus “death rate” is, with Trump arguing the U.S. is doing very well and Swan arguing the U.S. is far worse than many developed countries. The discrepancy arose from Trump citing the mortality rate among confirmed cases, whereas Swan looked to the death rate as a proportion of a nation’s population.
“Look at South Korea for example: 51 million population, 300 deaths,” Swan said. “It’s like, it’s crazy.”
“You don’t know that,” Trump countered.
The country’s official statistics support that number, and South Korea’s population is over 51 million.
Korea’s numbers translate to a death rate of 0.58 per 100,000 population. The corresponding U.S. rate is 47.5 per 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. (RELATED: Poll: Skepticism Amongst Americans Over Coronavirus Death Count Is Growing)
.@jonathanvswan: “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”@realdonaldtrump: “You can’t do that.”
Swan: “Why can’t I do that?” pic.twitter.com/MStySfkV39
— Axios (@axios) August 4, 2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Americans in early July not to become complacent due to the decreasing confirmed-case death rate in the U.S., arguing there are far too many factors that go into the statistic.
He argued that as the U.S. ramped up testing, young people who are far less likely to die from the disease made up a greater proportion of the results. This implies the mortality rate would decrease even as vulnerable populations were apparently fairing as poorly as ever.
“The death rate is lower, I admit that, because people in general who are young are healthier,” Fauci said July 8.