“If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive. All the people. I’m not making this up. Just look at the data.”
Speaking about the coronavirus during a CNN town hall less than two months away from Election Day, former Vice President Joe Biden said every one of the nearly 200,000 COVID-19 deaths recorded in the U.S. can be laid at President Donald Trump’s feet.
“If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive,” Biden said at the CNN town hall in Moosic, Pa. “All the people. I’m not making this up. Just look at the data. Look at the data.”
The Democratic presidential nominee’s remark came as Trump faces criticism for downplaying the threat of the coronavirus early on and admitting on tape that he did so. The U.S. leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, and experts say a fall surge in cases could put fatalities at more than double their current number by the year’s end.
A more robust handling of the pandemic would likely have seen the country’s death count significantly reduced, experts said. But Biden’s claim that a different response from Trump would have prevented every coronavirus death goes too far.
“I think it’s impossible to say every life could have been saved,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
Keeping COVID-19 at zero deaths would have been a difficult achievement “regardless of who is in charge,” said Brooke Nichols, an assistant professor of global health at Boston University.
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