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Almost 80,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 in red states. Trump thinks that's fine.

Death tolls in red states are sky-high too — especially those that had early reopenings and no statewide mask orders.

By Donna Provencher - September 17, 2020
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Donald Trump

Donald Trump claimed in a press conference Wednesday night that the coronavirus death toll wasn’t so bad — so long as you left blue state numbers out of the equation.

“The blue states had tremendous death rates,” said Trump. “If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”

But even the exclusion of blue states — by which Trump presumably means those run by Democratic governors — doesn’t account for the rosy picture he painted in his remarks.

According to the official CDC data tracker, the total coronavirus death toll for “red” states, or all 26 states with Republican governors, is 78,412.

Red states with the highest deaths include Texas with 14,478 deaths, Florida with 12,939 deaths, Massachusetts with 9,244 deaths, Georgia with 6,419 deaths, and Arizona with 5,371 deaths.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott faced widespread criticism by experts for his decision to reopen certain businesses in his state the first week of May, and for delaying a statewide mask order until July.

Florida, too, reopened businesses and beaches in early May, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to issue a statewide masking order, saying he trusts Floridians to make “the right decisions.”

While a state masking order is currently in place in Massachusetts, the state did permit the reopening of a number of businesses, including places of worship, as early as May 18.

Georgia and Arizona both have no statewide masking order at present, with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp going so far as to sue the city of Atlanta for its city mask mandate in July. Georgia was one of the earliest states to reopen its businesses and local establishments in late April. Arizona was also one of the first states to reopen in May.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks on the virus death toll this week.

Despite the steep death toll even in red states, Trump has admitted to deliberately downplaying the severity of the virus in its earliest days in order to avoid a panic. In recordings by journalist Bob Woodward, he called the virus “deadly stuff,” even while telling the public it was no worse than the common flu.

Contradicting himself yet again at an ABC News town hall on Tuesday in Philadelphia, he told host George Stephanopoulous, “I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, up-played it in terms of action.”

“I feel that we’ve done a tremendous job, actually,” Trump added. “And it’s something that I don’t think it’s been recognized like it should.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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