The lie driving this election is that President Donald Trump is to blame for the nation's COVID-19 deaths. Democrats are blanketing the country with ads claiming Trump bungled the virus response. Biden blames Trump for 230,000 deaths. Even Andrew Cuomo is parroting the lie. It's Cuomo who has blood on his hands, for forcing nursing homes to take in infected patients.
Trump may taunt "COVID, COVID, COVID" but actions are what count. He marshaled private companies to produce massive supplies of ventilators, erected field hospitals and swept away regulations to speed up the development of treatments. The COVID-19 death rate in the U.S. has plummeted 70% since March, according to data from NYU Langone, largely because hospitals are equipped and doctors have more tools.
How does that stack up against the rest of the world? A COVID-19 patient in the US has a better chance of surviving than in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy or many other countries, according to Johns Hopkins data. Not just slightly better -- often twice as good a chance. You don't hear that from CNN.
No leader can control where the virus hits. The difference is how they respond. France's President Emmanuel Macron and the United Kingdom's Boris Johnson are locking down their countries again, even while acknowledging the painful impact on livelihoods and mental health.
"What the hell are they doing," Trump exclaimed. Locking down didn't protect Europe. The virus is back. Lockdowns are the wrong way to go, but it's what Joe Biden would do, too.
Biden says he'd consult the scientists and shut down the U.S. economy, if that's recommended. How about consulting working people, Joe, who don't get a paycheck unless they are allowed to go to their jobs? Lockdowns are an elitist scam. Trump reminds voters that government officials, teachers and executives who support lockdowns get their paychecks no matter what. Some even "hire private tutors for their children," Trump adds. It's working people who suffer from "crippling shutdowns."
Last spring, Trump heeded scientific advisers and shut down the U.S. for some 45 days. That cratered the economy, led to 40 million unemployment claims by late May, and caused drug overdoses, suicides, alcoholism and other deaths of despair.
Trump saw the disastrous results and pivoted fast to a better strategy: Opening up the economy, getting people back to work and school, while targeting the elderly and other vulnerable populations for protection. Letting people make their own decisions. The pivot produced impressive results. The U.S. just completed the strongest quarterly surge in gross domestic product in the nation's history, undoing about two-thirds of the lockdown damage. All the while reducing the death rate from the virus.
At every campaign stop, Trump pledges "we will never lockdown again."
What would a Biden economy look like? Look at states run by pro-lockdown Democratic governors. Including New York. Unemployment is double what it is in red states. Many Democratic governors are petty tyrants. They put their boot on the necks of small business owners, forcing them to close and lose everything.
Forty-four thousand medical public health experts recently signed the Great Barrington Declaration warning about the "damaging physical and mental health impacts" of lockdowns.
Disregarding the complexities. Barack Obama told a Flint, Michigan, crowd this weekend that Joe "will get this pandemic under control." And Biden said, "If you want to beat the virus, you have to beat Donald Trump." That's demagoguery.
Only a vaccine can defeat the virus, and Trump is ahead of other world leaders on that front.
Early on, Trump launched Operation Warp Speed, an unprecedented collaboration with four pharmaceutical giants to create eight competing vaccine platforms. Not one or two but eight, because failure isn't an option. A vaccine will likely be ready within weeks. Compare that with the failure of the Obama-Biden administration, which foolishly banked on one effort to produce a vaccine for the H1N1 flu in 2009.
Now, Biden is telling voters that Trump has "waved the white flag." It's a lie.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of "The Next Pandemic," available at Amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey.