President Trump on Saturday heralded gains made against the coronavirus pandemic and the relatively low mortality rate in the U.S. compared to other hard-hit countries.
“While we mourn the tragic loss of life — and you can’t mourn it any stronger than we are mourning it — the United States has produced dramatically better health outcomes than any other country with the possible exception of Germany,” Mr. Trump said at the daily briefing at the White House.
He said the high death toll in the U.S., which has most coronavirus deaths in the world at more than 37,000, could be attributed to the large U.S. population.
The U.S. population of about 328 million is four or five times larger than most European countries.
Of the 10 countries with the most COVID-19 deaths, the U.S. has the second lowest mortality rate at 5.3% per 100 reported cases, according to an analysis by Johns Hopkins University.
Only Germany had a lower rate at 3.1% among the 10 countries in the study.
Belgium, the U.K., Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Iran and China had higher mortality rates.
Belgium had the highest mortality rate per 100 cases of 14.3%. The U.K., Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain each had double-digit mortality rates.
Spain, with more than 20,000 deaths, had a mortality rate of 10.5% — nearly double the rate in the U.S.
Mr. Trump said the news media has ignored the successes of the U.S. effort against COVID-19, which included a nearly complete shutdown of the economy and massive stimulus spending to sustain Americans living under stay-at-home orders.
“But you don’t hear that. You hear that we have more death. But we are a much bigger country than any of those countries, by far,” said Mr. Trump. “So, when the fake news gets out there and starts talking about the United States has more — but we’re not number one.”
He also questioned the death toll reported by China, where the virus began. The data shows China with a mortality rate of 5.5% per 100,000, according to the JHU study.
“They are way ahead of us in terms of death. It’s not even close,” he told the reporters at the briefing. “You know it. I know it. They know it. But you don’t want to report it. Why? You’ll have to explain that.”