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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

COVID as of September 1

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.   It unfolds as Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.

On February 26, Trump said the coronavirus case count "within a couple days is going to be down close to zero

Yesterday, it topped six million -- more than the entire population of Wisconsin.

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Josh Dawsey at WP:
One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House earlier this month as a pandemic adviser. He has advocated that the United States adopt the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak, according to these officials, which relies on lifting restrictions so the healthy can build up immunity to the disease rather than limiting social and business interactions to prevent the virus from spreading.
At Popular Information, Judd Legum details Atlas's financial conflicts of interest.

Daniel Dale and Jamie Gumbrecht at CNN:
Twitter on Sunday took down a tweet containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory -- a post that President Donald Trump had retweeted earlier in the day.
The tweet -- which has been replaced with a message saying, "This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules -- from "Mel Q," copied from someone else's Facebook post, claimed that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had "quietly" updated its numbers "to admit that only 6%" of people listed as coronavirus deaths "actually died from Covid," since "the other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses."
That's not what the CDC said.
As of Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, Twitter had not removed a second tweet, also retweeted by the President on Sunday, that spread the same false claim. The second tweet, by Trump campaign adviser Jenna Ellis, linked to an article on the right-wing website Gateway Pundit that was based on the QAnon supporter's tweet.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment on Trump's retweets.
The CDC's latest regular update to a public statistics page on the pandemic -- there was nothing especially "quiet" about it -- said that for 6% of the deaths included in its statistics, "Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned" on the deceased person's death certificate.
That is not at all the same thing as saying only 6% of reported Covid-19 deaths "actually died" from Covid-19. It simply means that the other 94% were listed as having at least one additional factor contributing to their death.