Speaking on Fox News on Thursday, Trump Jr. claimed that deaths from COVID-19 were down to “almost nothing” despite rising cases, rising hospitalizations and a rising death rate as the nation faces a third wave of infections.
Jr. claims Coronavirus death numbers are down to “almost nothing” pic.twitter.com/NGMDLYkdsD
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 30, 2020
Earlier this week, Wisconsin reported what its state health department called “a nightmare scenario” as cases reached record levels. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) warned of a “dire situation” facing his state, saying: “Our hospitals cannot keep up with Utah’s infection rate.”
Yet Trump Jr. cited a chart posted on his Instagram page that showed coronavirus deaths at “almost nothing.” His chart used Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, but deliberately misinterpreted it.
The CDC said in multiple places that all data after the week ending Sept. 26 was incomplete as the agency relies on formal death certificates and other factors that take more time to compile. However, Trump Jr. claimed the missing data was a sign of “almost nothing” in terms of deaths.
Even with those delays in mind, the incomplete CDC charts showed roughly 10,000 deaths due to COVID-19 for October so far. Data from the COVID Tracking Project, which uses more immediate sources, found roughly 20,000 deaths this month, including more than 1,000 on Thursday when Trump Jr. made his declaration that deaths were “almost nothing.”
Twitter users instantly called him out for the lie:
“The number (of deaths) is almost nothing, because we’ve gotten control of this,” Don Jr says.
So far today, Johns Hopkins has reported 87,164 new cases and 951 reported deaths.
With a total of 228,636 deaths.
Lie after lie after lie after lie. https://t.co/UVz6TDBbKy
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 30, 2020
So, based on an Instagram post from @DonaldJTrumpJr, I think this statement may result from a common misinterpretation of CDC provisional death counts.
The data for recent weeks is always incomplete, so recent weeks always decline. The CDC notes this in official charts. https://t.co/QFZUOw1AXv pic.twitter.com/Myy94WOLhZ
— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) October 30, 2020
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 30, 2020
Hey, Don Jr, why don’t you call the families of the 951 people who have died so far today and tell them this? Too bad they can’t all go to Walter Reed and get the expensive experimental treatments your superspreader dad got. #cockroach https://t.co/TD64A1cJqU
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) October 30, 2020
Over 1,000 people died today. That's not "almost nothing" unless you believe that people you don't know are worthless. https://t.co/xSIL5jSlx2
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) October 30, 2020
Closing message is to lie about over 1000 deaths a day and climbing. https://t.co/Pi4wFbGqIg
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) October 30, 2020
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 30, 2020
Today we set the year to date record for infections and 940 died as of 7pm central time. It’s getting worse almost everywhere in America.
Hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved and our economy bolstered if action was taken in Feb/March. https://t.co/i0B4gXC8t5
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) October 30, 2020
9 million plus infections. 230,000 deaths.
— Elizabeth C. McLaughlin 🩸🦷 (@ECMcLaughlin) October 30, 2020
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) October 30, 2020
I find it disgraceful that hunter biden would get coked to the gills and go on television to say this while a thousand americans die every day https://t.co/ee6EgAEdI6
— kilgore trout, tucker carlson’s mailman (@KT_So_It_Goes) October 30, 2020
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.