Mike Pence is outright lying and denying the facts to pretend COVID-19 is under control

Mike Pence is outright lying and denying the facts to pretend COVID-19 is under control
Vice President Mike Pence, along with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus update briefing Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)
News & Politics

Mike Pence wants you to clap. Clap! Don’t stop clapping. Because if you stop clapping, the fairy tale that he and Donald Trump are telling about the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely going to die.

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Pence denies that there is such a thing as a “second wave” to the pandemic, and he doesn’t mean because we haven’t exited the first wave. According to Pence, the American healthcare system is “far stronger” than it was four months ago, because there’s nothing like endless overtime, constantly full hospital beds, and 600 dead doctors and nurses to make the system so much better. Pence thinks that it’s a great thing that the rate of positive tests is down to under 10% … in most states. And that deaths didn’t reach a number that he says some people were predicting. And of course, Pence promises a “viable vaccine by the fall.” Because this is a fairy tale that calls for an October surprise!

On Monday, Mike Pence outright lied to reporters when explaining why it was just dandy for Trump to hold a rally in Tulsa on Saturday over the objection of local officials. “In a very real sense, they’ve flattened the curve,” said Pence. “And today their hospital capacity is abundant, the number of cases in Oklahoma has declined precipitously and we feel very confident going forward with the rally this coming weekend.”

None of that—none of that—is true. Oklahoma has racked up its highest number of new cases ever during the last week. So did the county where Tulsa is located. And then Oklahoma beat its old record today. There is no sense in which the curve is flattened, or cases are declining. Tulsa’s mayor went on Facebook to say: “The key threat as we reopen is hospital capacity.” He notes that while the hospitalization rate in Tulsa is down from an earlier peak in April, “it has started to rise.”

Compared to neighboring states like Texas, Oklahoma has gotten off relatively lightly—so far. But an event like the one Trump intends to hold is tailor-made for disaster. Something that the Trump campaign definitely recognizes by requiring those signing up for tickets to also complete a disclaimer holding Trump harmless if they catch COVID-19 at the ill-advised event.

Pence scoffs that “the media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way,” because sure … 120,000 dead Americans is a walk in the park. Nothing to be concerned about. It’s not like any of them were killed by Muslims or immigrants. Because then every life is definitely sacred. But 120,000 people dead from a virus … that’s what winning looks like.

According to Pence, it’s time for “celebration,” not “fearmongering.” Because as we know, this is definitely all behind us. All behind us. And all so, so goodly.

Pence provides no details about the supposed vaccine coming for the fall (it’s not a “surprise” if you announce it too many times in advance), but he does spend a good deal of time bragging about how testing is now so good that “today less than 6% of Americans tested each week are found to have the virus.” “Today” clearly not being today, where Florida’s rate of positives was an amazing 23%.

Even if the U.S. was turning up positives at the rate Pence suggests, that would still be a horrible signal of an outbreak in progress. In Italy, once the world’s biggest hot spot, daily positives are down to 300 with a rate of positives below 0.5%. Germany is at 0.8%. Australia is currently conducting over 3,400 tests for every positive case found, for a rate of 0.03%. That is what adequate testing looks like. Not only is a 6% positive rate nothing to brag about, it’s an absolute sign of a broken system where in many locations people still aren’t being tested until they are displaying obvious symptoms.

It’s true that overall numbers in the United States have fallen, but that’s because the huge fire burning through New York City and the surrounding areas has been successfully fought and reduced to a series of hot spots. But what’s happening now is a more general rise that affects numerous states.

Florida had its worst day today. Arizona had its worst day today. Oklahoma had its worst day today. Texas had its worst day last week, but then Texas hasn’t yet reported its tallies for Tuesday. Ten states are at new highs for hospitalization. And the states with Republican governors who listened to Trump and Pence are heading for catastrophe.

No matter what Pence says, the United States is definitely not in better shape than it was four months ago. It’s exhausted physically and economically, buffeted by conflicting information—with Pence himself being a primary source of pure lies.

And why in holy hell won’t Mike Pence put on a mask?

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