COVID-19 Lies Go Viral

Betsy McCaughey, Beware of three widely circulating COVID-19-related lies and the partisan motives behind them. These lies are dangerous to your children and how you cope with this virus.

Lie No. 1: “The United States’ response stands out as among the worst of any country.” House Majority Whip James Clyburn leveled that charge, as he kicked off a hearing Friday into the virus.

Don’t buy it. A staggering 183,639 Europeans have died from the virus as of Monday. Deaths per capita have been far higher in the U.K., Spain and Italy than in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins. After a lull, cases are spiking in several European countries.

That hasn’t stopped New York Times columnist Paul Krugman from asking, “Why Can’t Trump’s America be like Italy?” Is he crazy? A patient with the coronavirus has faced three times the risk of dying from it in Italy as in the U.S., Johns Hopkins data indicate.

Lie No. 2: Clyburn accused the administration of “rushing into reopening the schools” against the ” advice of public health experts.” Sorry, but experts want schools to reopen.

At the hearing, expert witnesses Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were emphatic. Redfield itemized the dangers — delayed learning, social isolation, undetected child abuse and even adolescent suicide — from school closings. And he called attention to his agency’s blueprint for reopening schools safely, down to how to space the desks and handle lunchtime.

The CDC reports that COVID-19 poses a smaller risk to children than ordinary flu, for which schools never close. And children under age 10 are unlikely to infect family members, based on data from Switzerland, Iceland, and South Korea.

The American Academy of Pediatricians and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are urging that at least grades K-5 reopen. These are where remote learning is the least feasible and infecting family members is unlikely.

Contrary to this science, the Democratic Party and teachers’ unions are demanding schools stay closed. They’re holding kids and parents hostage to defeat Trump in November. And, of course, get paid for staying home.

A New Zealand study found that infected students didn’t infect their teachers. Yet, New York City teachers are taking to the streets, marching with coffins and skeletons. They’re frauds.

Transit workers, cops and firefighters and showing up for work — despite the real dangers they confront.

On “Face the Nation” this Sunday, Clyburn shamelessly repeated his false claim that schools can’t reopen because the administration doesn’t have a safety plan. Here’s the plan. Check it out.

Lie No. 3: Clyburn accused the Trump administration of having no “comprehensive national strategy” to combat the virus.

The truth is, since March, these agencies have produced thousands of pages of detailed action plans. I’ve read them. You might disagree with some details, as I do, but to insist there’s no plan is preposterous.

Yet, that’s the Democrats’ playbook. No surprise, The New York Times parroting it, claiming in a July 30 editorial there’s been an absence of “coherent approach ” for months.

At Friday’s hearing, Fauci laid out the administration’s vaccine strategy, optimistically predicting a safe, effective vaccine before the end of 2020. Redfield ranged over plans for workplaces, schools, nursing homes and child care centers.

Despite the virus surging in many states, Redfield testified that if Americans “wholeheartedly embrace five measures” — masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, avoiding crowds and protecting the elderly “we can get this virus under control,” without shutdowns. That’s an important message.

Finally, look out for a fourth lie being concocted now — that the administration is cutting corners on safety to deliver a vaccine before the election. Fauci assured Congress several times it’s not true. But The New York Times, tapping into anti-vaxxer energy, published a news story Monday implying as much, without evidence, just innuendo and mostly anonymous sources. That lie could dissuade people from getting vaccinated and cost many lives. It’s the most dangerous of all.

Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York. Contact her at betsy@betsymccaughey.com. 

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