Donald Trump’s behavior in a recent video interview with Axios and HBO is confusing on social media. The president, along with journalist Jonathan Swan, goes through various statistics on coronavirus deaths and refuses to discuss the number of deaths relative to population, which is one of the most commonly used metrics in the world.
- Oh, you look at mortality in relation to morbidity. I’m talking about mortality relative to population. That is where the United States is doing really badly. Much worse than in South Korea, Germany and others, Swan says.
- You can't do that, the president replies.
- Why not? the reporter is baffled.
Twitter critics commented they thought the video was originally a British parody and urged to watch the president’s expressions as he listened to the reporter’s words. Many praise Jonathan Swan’s calm and matter-of-fact discussion and the fact that he does not get to the president easily but repeatedly returns to his statements.
Photo: Brian Cahn / ZUMA
In the interview, the president wants to present figures that he says prove that the United States is doing better with regard to the corona than other countries. Mortality relative to population is at an alarmingly high level in the country, but Trump says it is more important to look at the number of corona cases diagnosed than mortality.
According to U.S. health officials, 4.65 million coronary infections have been diagnosed in the federal state, of which 154,000 have been fatal. There are clearly more infections in the country than in any other country. According to an international comparison by Worldometers, the United States is 10th in terms of both mortality by population and number of cases in relation to population.
According to Trump, the situation in the United States is only due to the fact that the country is conducting more tests than any other country in the world and therefore there are also more cases detected.
President Trump shows Swan on paper the country’s test figures.
- Don't we get thanks for this? As we test more, we have more cases.
Swan points out that Americans are currently dying a thousand people a day and despite the tests, hospitals are full of coronary patients.
- People are dying, it's true, and ... it's as it is. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t do everything we can. The disease is under control as well as it can be.
This statement, in particular, has stirred up the United States, where Trump has been criticized first for downplaying the disease and then for calls to open up the economy too quickly, fueling a new rise in the disease. The interview statement left the impression that a thousand dead a day is a tolerable figure.
- You're not reporting this right, Jonathan, Trump reiterates his accusations against the media in an interview.
The debate is also intensified when Swan wants to deal with the figures for the whole country and Trump wants to deal with the figures for the states where the disease situation is improving.
The interview was conducted on Tuesday, July 28 and published on Monday, August 3.
This week, the president has criticized White House corona adviser Deborah Birx on Twitter, who said in an interview with CNN that the country has entered a new phase of the epidemic. The president, along with Birx, among others, is on various lines about whether or not schools should be opened.
Australian-born Jonathan Swan is a policy editor for the Axios news site in Washington DC.