Trump was interviewed for HBO by journalist Jonathan Swan. When Swan asked Trump about Covid19 deaths per capita, Trump said back ‘You can’t do that.’
Yes, you certainly can and you should. Deaths per capita is one of the most important metrics to consider when looking at this global pandemic. The most valuable statistic to show how a country is handling the pandemic that takes out the population variable and the testing variable, is deaths per capita.
The number to be looking at is the percentage of tests that are positive and deaths per capita. If you test 1,000 people, and 50 come back positive, that’s a 5% rate of infection. If you test 10,000 people and 750 are positive, that’s a 7.5% rate of infection. The more people you test, the more accurate your infection rate percentages will be.
One of Trump’s most relied on statistic is that we are testing more so numbers are higher. Yes, we are seeing an increase in cases because we are testing more. However, if we stop testing, people will still be getting sick. It’s not the tests that’s making people sick, it’s the virus. He looks at deaths to total cases.
And why do we have to use that weird “more tests” statistic that isn’t reliable and doesn’t tell us much? Oh, because it’s the one that Trump think makes him look better.
Beyond the insanity of the defense itself, the metric got massively diluted and won’t come back to normal until all the deaths from the current rounds of infection happen, which won’t be for weeks. Two weeks ago Trump said that increasing cases didn’t matter because deaths were mostly flat, which was only true because deaths lag behind cases. The average death is occuring almost two weeks after the influx of a new case.
The statistic he chose is the one that just got better because of the second wave of cases hit. It is about to get much worse now that the second wave of deaths is catching up to us. The statistic will no longer show the administration is doing a good job unless the new cases continue to outpace the deaths. The only way for that to happen is for exponentially more people to become infected more than deaths. That is NOT a good thing.
What is happening with increased testing is exactly what should be happening in the richest country in the world. Either way, it makes our testing program look impressive and it possibly makes our healthcare professionals look good, but neither of those mean we’ve done a good job at containing the virus. We should be the best. If we are not the best in testing, there is something wrong. However, our death rate per capita is not something to be proud of. We are worse than Brazil, France, Mexico, Ireland, Panama, Canada, Switzerland, Colombia, Bermuda, Iraq, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Austria, Turkey, Hungary, Finland, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, India, Greece, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and 180 other nations.