It would be fair to say that Donald Trump did not have the most comfortable of times in an interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan on Tuesday, when discussing the spread of coronavirus in the United States.
After first remarking that the daily US death toll ‘is what it is’, the President was asked by Swan why the number of Covid cases in the US has been proportionally higher than in many other countries. Trump was insistent that this was because ‘we are so much better at testing than any other country in the world, we show more cases.’
The interview took a strange turn though when Swan pointed out that America's number of deaths per million people showed that its response to coronavirus had been rather less effective. In response, Trump unexpectedly decided to whip out a number of charts which apparently proved his success in controlling the virus, as they showed that the ‘United States is lowest in numerous categories. We’re lower than the world’.
Swan was eventually able to decipher the President’s meaning when he was shown the chart in question, which showed that the US had a low number of deaths as a proportion of cases. Agreeing that American test numbers were indeed high, Swan repeated that he was in fact talking about ‘death as a proportion of the population’. Inevitably, Trump took issue with Swan’s methodology, telling him ‘You can’t do that.’
Looking at the WHO’s statistics for deaths per million people (which place the US as tenth highest), it appears he can Mr President.
— Axios (@axios) August 4, 2020
.@jonathanvswan: “Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”@realdonaldtrump: “You can’t do that.”Swan: “Why can’t I do that?” pic.twitter.com/MStySfkV39