The Post and the Times take a pass: This Sunday, as he spoke with Chris Wallace, am embattled, wartime American president made a surprising statement.
The commander said the United States has "the best mortality rate" in the world! He was speaking about the cornavirus. Mortality, where is thy sting?
On its face, the commander's statement seemed to make no sense. As of July 21, the United States had suffered 433 coronavirus deaths per million population. Meanwhile, countries like Japan, South Korea and Australia have suffered only 5 to 8 deaths per million population. Taiwan and New Zealand were even lower than that!
It was hard to imagine that our mortality rate could really be better than theirs. But Wallace never mentioned such data. He simply said that Hopkins disagrees with Trump, then kept moving along.
What the heck was Donald J. Trump actually talking about? Just to establish the historical record, the unveiling of his surprising claim started here:
TRUMP (7/19/20): When you talk about mortality rates, I think it's the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.Obedient Kayleigh scooted off, then handed Trump the data. At that point, the commander was able to make this statement to the News Channel's "Doubting Wallace:"
WALLACE: That’s not true, sir. We have a— We had 900 deaths on a single day just this week.
TRUMP: We will take a look. Ready?
WALLACE: You, you can check it out.
TRUMP: Can you please get me the mortality rate? Kayleigh's right here. I heard we have one of the lowest, maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world.
Do you have the numbers, please? Because I heard we had the best mortality rate.
TRUMP (continuing directly): Number—number one low mortality rate! I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about.Once again, the commander had masterfully aced a test. "Fake News" had taken a fall.
After the president made this claim, Wallace paused the videotape and said the claim was wrong. But he never explained what anyone meant by the term, "mortality rate." And he never explained how crazily wrong the commander in chief had been.
Jump ahead to yesterday's televised briefing. Amazingly, the meaning of Sunday's exchange became clear.
Based on yesterday's masterful briefing, it seems clear that Trump was actually talking about this country's "case fatality rate" when he said we were best in the world. And sure enough:
"Case fatality rate" isn't the same as "mortality rate." Nor is it anything like what the average person might think we're talking about when we use such a term.
Long story short, "case fatality rate" is a rather arcane statistic. But that's what Trump was talking about when he spoke with Wallace.
Yesterday, Trump stood before several large signs which said CASE FATALITY RATE. Before long, he blustered thusly:
TRUMP (7/21/20): Data shows children have the lowest fatality risk. 99.96% of all virus fatalities are in adults. Think of that. So that’s much, much, much less than 1% for children, young people. By understanding these risk profiles and learning how to treat the disease, we’ve been able to greatly reduce mortality in the United States. In fact, we’ll show you a chart and how well we do compared to the rest of the world.Long story short:
Fatalities nationwide have fallen 75% since mid April. That’s a great number. As cases and fatalities rise in certain hard hit states, which you’re looking at right now, we’re surging personnel, supplies and therapeutics. We again have tremendous amounts of supplies. We are in very good shape and we can move them quickly.
Our case fatality rate has continued to decline and is lower than the European Union and almost everywhere else in the world....With the fatality rate at a lower rate than most, it’s something that we can talk about.
Some of what Trump said there is true. For example, our fatalities (our deaths) have dropped by 75% since April, or at least that was recently true.
That said, our daily deaths are still vastly higher than in many other comparable countries, even after adjusting for population. And also, in the past few weeks, they've once again started to climb.
That one statement was in fact (recently) true. But long story short, Trump was actually referring to a fairly arcane statistic, "case fatality rate," when he said we were best in the world. And "cast fatality rate" isn't what most people will think we're talking about when we discuss our "mortality rate."
(Sensibly, Wallace thought we were talking about how many people die each day.)
For the record, this material is too confusing, and too dull, for the Post or the Times. They were happy with Sunday's Storyline, in which Wallace simply announced that Trump was wrong again.
The Post, the Times and Wallace himself won't bother you with the actual relevant data. They won't bother you with information, in which our ongoing daily death rate dwarfs those found in comparable nations all over the world.
Your press corps runs on Storyline. In many cases, memorization of Storyline seems to be their only known journalistic skill.
Birx found a statistic the king could flog. Wallace said the king was wrong.
That was good enough for the upper-end press:
They haven't bothered telling us how crazily wrong the king's claim was. They haven't bothered showing us the actual state of the world.
For extra credit only: One publication, Business Insider, has decided to tackle this matter.
To read their explanation of "case fatality rate," you can just click here. That said, long story short:
Compared to comparable countries all over the world, our daily deaths are very high and rising. The public should be shown the amazing stats, but Homey don't play it that way.