As of yesterday, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States reached 3 million. By some accounts, roughly 50,000 cases were added yesterday, as at least six states set single-day records for new cases, and several others saw their highest daily COVID-19 death totals to date.
It was against this backdrop that Donald Trump was interviewed by Gray TV's Greta Van Susteren, who reminded the president that Dr. Anthony Fauci does not believe that the United States is in a good place. Trump was unmoved.
"I think we are in a good place; I disagree with him.... We’ve done a good job. I think we’re actually, we’re going to be in two, three, four weeks -- by the time we next speak we’ll be in good shape."
Note how quickly the goalposts moved: in one breath, the Republican asserted that we're in "a good place," in the next, he added that the United States is "going to be" in good shape at some point soon.
As for why, exactly, the president is feeling satisfied as the crisis intensifies, Trump is now convinced that an improved mortality rate is evidence of success. Just yesterday, Fauci explained that it was a “false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” but the president is doing the opposite anyway.
One of the key problems, however, is that Trump doesn't appear to know what he's talking about. As TPM noted, the United States is actually doing poorly by the White House's preferred metric.
According to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 40 Americans have died of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, second worst in the world behind only the United Kingdom. And of all confirmed COVID-19 cases, the United States’ case fatality ratio is 4.4%, ranking seventh worst out of the 20 countries most affected by the virus, the university’s analysis found. Well, maybe Trump was just talking about recent COVID-19-related deaths -- which would paint a much better picture than overall deaths. Out of those known to have the virus, a smaller proportion have died in recent weeks than overall. But still, even by that metric, he’s wrong.
It'll be worth revisiting all of these figures in "two, three, four weeks."