COVID-19 Stats to Bypass CDC, Go Straight to Trump’s Spin Shop

From here on out, be wary of infection and death counts.

Steve Jones
Jul 15, 2020 · 3 min read
We know Donald Trump cheats at golf. Now he’s poised to cheat on COVID-19 stats. (White House Flickr)

As of July 14, 2020, Donald Trump wants COVID-19 statistical information to go straight to the Department of Health and Human Services, bypassing the Centers for Disease Control.

That will give the Trump administration the ability to change the stats to fit its political agenda.

You know how Trump wants to downplay Coronavirus so Americans can get back to work? So kids can go back to school? You know how infectious disease expert and game-show host Chuck Woolery said it’s all about the election?

Watch out folks. Trump’s alternative facts shop can now massage those stats to make it look like the pandemic is abating, even when it’s not.

Talk about flying blind. Now we’ll never be sure where we are in this catastrophe.

We’ve been here before. Some of us, at least.

During the Vietnam War, the Pentagon released daily “body counts” in an effort to prove the United States was winning the war. The army deflated U.S. deaths while grossly over-inflating North Vietnamese and Viet Cong deaths.

In the absence of any real strategy to win in Vietnam, the government relied on manipulated numbers convince Americans that everything was okay.

Of course it wasn’t. William Westmoreland, the commanding U.S. general in South Vietnam, said American soldiers would be home by Christmas 1967. They finally came home in 1973.

The parallel is, well, sickening.

In the absence of any real strategy to win the war against COVID-19, the Trump administration is poised to manipulate the number to convince Americans that everything is okay.

Control of information, of course, is not only the hallmark of authoritarian regimes, but administrations in trouble.

You know that Trump focuses on numbers. Remember his fixation on his inaugural crowd numbers relative to Obama’s? His strange obsession with television ratings? His cheating on his golf scores?

This is par for Trump’s course.

Worldometer COVID-19 stats for the United States, 1:11 p.m., July 15, 2020.

Since April 1, 2020, I’ve consulted Worldometer’s COVID-19 statistics. Network news usually lags about a day behind on their statistical reporting. So, somewhere, news networks are doing statistical reporting, comparisons, and collating.

That gives me hope that the real numbers will still be out there. Someone is just going to have to dig for them.

That’s the moral of this message. You’re still going to see numbers, but if they come straight from the DHHS, consider them suspect.

Look around, compare and collate, and make your own assessments.

And listen to the health professionals, not Trump’s alternative-fact cohorts.

Be critical. Trump is a huckster who wants you to buy what he’s selling.

In this case, he wants you to buy the dangerous idea that everything is okay.

Politically Speaking

We all view the world through a unique lens.

Sign up for Politically Speaking: The Insider

By Politically Speaking

This is The Insider, an inside-the-scenes newsletter from Politically Speaking. To address writers, contribution, stats, and other inside news from P.S. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Steve Jones

Written by

We’ve got to do better than this, folks.

Politically Speaking

We all view the world through a unique lens. Politics is in literally everything from our churches to our social organizations to news events and crime to our governments. This is the place to share your view, regardless of your political leanings: all are welcome.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store