“I heard we have one of the lowest, maybe the lowest, mortality rate anywhere in the world,” Trump told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “Do you have the numbers please? I heard we had the best mortality rate,” he added to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who was off-camera.
When McEnany returned with a piece of paper, Trump turned on Wallace. “Number one low mortality rate,” he said, attacking Wallace for reporting “fake news” in the process. “You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world, and we have the best.”
But the President’s claim is not true. And it’s not even close.
The US ranks eighth in total Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people, below a number of European hotbeds and Chile, but above other badly-hit South American and Asian countries.
According to Wallace, Trump also waved a graph showing a slightly different metric to tout his claim — the case-fatality rate.
This is simply a country’s number of confirmed deaths divided by its number of confirmed cases. It’s a more problematic measure because it depends heavily on how much testing a country is or is not doing. A country that has consistently tested its general population will have a very low case-fatality rate, while a country that tests only sick people in hospitals will have a very high one.
Nonetheless, the US still ranks in the top 60 countries worldwide by this measure, according to JHU, around the same as Brazil and Peru and worse than dozens of other nations.
In other words, there is no measure by which Trump’s claim that the US has “the best” mortality rate is true.
In raw terms, the US has suffered the deadliest coronavirus outbreak anywhere in the world, with more than 3.7 million confirmed cases and over 140,000 deaths.