White House claims to have “ended” COVID-19 pandemic as infections surge

Third wave of coronavirus in US appears worse than the previous two

HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/USA Representational image: US President Donald Trump and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci | REUTERS

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has included “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as among its accomplishments in the last four years under President Donald Trump, even as a third wave of coronavirus infections pushed new daily infection rates to record heights.

In the section highlighting the OSTP’s accomplishments, the White House says that “from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

The claim builds on what President Trump himself has sought to portray as the end of the pandemic, as he said he US was “rounding the turn”.

“Until November 4th., Fake News Media is going full on Covid, Covid, Covid. We are rounding the turn. 99.9%,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Trump’s comments sparked renewed scepticism from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi writing to her colleagues, “From 'hoax' to hundreds of thousands dead, the White House has failed miserably—not by accident, but by decision.”

The US has over nine million confirmed cases of COVID-19—the highest in the world—and after a temporary lull in cases during September, has returned to July levels of recording around 80,000 cases a day. Over 2.3 lakh Americans have died from the virus so far, with a recent study estimating that 500,000 would have died by February 28, 2021.

Trump’s own chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had on Sunday said the govenrment would not be going to control the pandemic before the vaccine comes out, as a new outbreak in the White House spreads among the vice-president’s staff.

Misinformation from the White House related to the coronavirus has been a major issue since the start of the pandemic: Trump's staff and even the president himself have refused to adhere to mask-wearing protocols even when it was the norm across much of the rest of the world. Trump's repeated public spars with director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci have also deepened the divide between his administration and the scientific and medical community.

A CNN tally estimated that Trump has made the claim that the coronavirus would disappear around 40 times since the start of the pandemic. With winter settling in, experts fear a new wave of infections could be the largest and deadliest yet. 

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