Yesterday, as the country was engulfed in a conflagration of coronavirus, Donald Trump had this to say:
“We have one of the lowest mortality rates anywhere,” the president said before pivoting to an attack on Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee.
I went to Worldometer to look at how different countries are doing in their fight against COVID-19. In the table showing statistics for each nation, if you click on the header labelled “Deaths/1M population” it will sort the table by deaths per capita, in either ascending or descending order as you please. Deaths per capita — the total mortality rate — is an important clue who is doing best and who is doing worst.
I’ll skip the countries that are so tiny they’re not really countries (with only 33,785 people, San Marino couldn’t fill an NFL football stadium).
Contrary to Donald Trump’s alternative reality, the U.S. is not one of the lowest. Not even close. We’re 7th-highest, i.e. 7th-worst, after Belgium, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Sweden, and France. 7th-highest out of almost 200 countries, is not “one of the lowest.”
Which makes Donald Trump seem stupid. But wait! Maybe … maybe he wasn’t talking about the total mortality rate, but about the current mortality rate. The total is all about what you’ve been through this whole time, while the present is about what you’re going through right now.
I selected 18 countries to investigate, including all of those at the top of the total-mortality list. Using data from Johns Hokins, I fit a smooth curve to the daily mortality data, to estimate its present average value, the current mortality rate.
If we grade countries this way, Belgium is no longer the worst; it’s one of the best. They lost many lives — very many — early in the epidemic, but they got control over the disease and now have one of the lowest mortality rates anywhere. Maybe when Donald Trump talked about mortality rates, he meant to say “Belgium”?
And is the U.S. still 7th-worst? No, it’s now 3rd-worst. Right behind Brazil and Mexico. 3rd-highest out of almost 200 countries, is not “one of the lowest.”
It’s time to remove Donald Trump from office. We can’t wait until the election to replace him, because the direct cause of the tremendous mortality rate in the U.S. — one of the highest in the world by any measure — is Donald Trump. It’s his fault. Don’t let it be our death.
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