Donald Trump’s habit of making statements that are transparently, demonstrably untrue is well known, but even by his standards his latest claim is a whopper.
Overnight, Trump embarked on yet another Twitter storm. His focus? Himself, and how much he’s done to save America from the COVID-19 crisis… which has so far claimed more than 80,000 lives, and shows little sign of slowing.
And so he tweeted this.
It’s true that the US has conducted more tests than any other nation – they’ll top 10 million within a day or so. But more tests than all other countries combined?
It takes about 10 seconds to work it out if you go to the Worldometers site and look at how many tests the US has done, compared to the rest of the world. According to the latest figures, the US has performed 9,940,830 tests. Russia is second with 5,805,404, followed by Germany with 2,755,770and Italy with 2,673,655… and already we’re at 11,234,829 tests… with another 208 countries to factor in.
So no… the United States has not done more tests than all other countries combined. Not even close.
Globally, there’s been almost 51 million tests. The US accounts for about one-fifth of those, but then the US also accounts for more than one-third of active COVID cases.
The most relevant figure, however, is the ‘Tests per head of population’. Obviously, the bigger a population you have, more people you can and should test. And on that front, the US is doing poorly, ranking 40th behind such countries as Mauritius, one of the African countries Trump described as a ‘shit-hole’ in 2018.
As the Covid-19 crisis continues to worsen in the US, Trump has increasingly taken to social media to try and distract, blame others, and flat out lie.
A few weeks ago, Trump was claiming that America would soon be conducting 5 million tests a day. This was a time when the US had barely conducted 5 million tests in the two months since the start of the crisis. Today, the US is averaging around 300,000 tests a day.
Testing is obviously important, but some countries have proven you don’t even have to do that to keep the virus under control. By far, the great success story globally is the response of Taiwan. Despite being the closest neighbouring country to China, Taiwan ‘tests per million people’ rate is just 2,860 – 15 times less than the United States.
But it’s total case number is not even in the same stratosphere – 440, compared to the US’s total of almost 1.5 million.
Of course, Taiwan is much smaller, it has a population similar to Australia (about 24 million people). But its case rate per million people is just 18, compared to the US rate of 4,254 per million people, which is about 236 times higher.
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