The deadly consequences of Trump’s magical thinking

From the very beginning of this pandemic, Donald Trump has downplayed the seriousness of it and avoided taking the tough actions required to curb it. Tim Dickinson has compiled a list of the 22 times that Trump has indulged in magical thinking, claiming that the virus would just go away all by itself, because of warmer weather or by some kind of ‘miracle’ or that it was not dangerous or some such nonsense, ignoring the warnings of public health experts that we needed concerted national action, and praising himself relentlessly for his non-action.

Most telling is his prediction on February 27th when 15 people had died in the US that in a few days the number would go down to zero. Now we are over 190,000 deaths and should reach the 200,000 mark before the end of this month. Since these numbers are truly staggering, Trump has resorted to making the false claim that only about 6% of these deaths can be blamed on the virus, a claim taken up by his fans who also believe that for some reason, people with an anti-Trump agenda are falsely inflating the pandemic threat. This article exposes the false reasoning behind this 6% claim.

Flawed reasoning: Because 94% of COVID-19 death certificates listed comorbidities, the author of the claim incorrectly reasons that only 6% of the deaths currently attributed to COVID-19 were actually caused by the disease. It is incorrect to assume that every patient who had COVID-19 in addition to other medical conditions died from the medical conditions and not from COVID-19.

Misleading: Comorbidities are medical conditions that weaken the patient and may lower their chance of surviving COVID-19 but are not the underlying cause of death. The claim fails to consider that doctors assess the entire chain of clinical events leading to the death of a patient in order to determine the cause. For deaths to be attributed to COVID-19, the clinical events assessed must be compatible with known COVID-19 symptoms.

Seeing all those statements laid out one after another in the Dickinson article as the death toll kept rising is a shocking reminder of how dangerously incompetent Trump is. And that is not even including his touting of dangerous treatments. His latest invocation of magical thinking was on August 31 when, with the death toll at over 187,000, he blithely said, “And we use the word “herd.” Once you get to a certain number, it’s going to go away.” Of course he does not specify what that number is but presumably it too will keep rising to be just above the total number of infected people (currently about 6.5 million people) , a mirage that keeps receding in the distance. And his devoted followers, urged on by social media such as Facebook, with spread this misinformation.

(Speed Bump)

(Non Sequitur)


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    In a news conference a few days ago, Trump claimed that the death toll would be in the millions by now if it weren’t for his ‘actions’ at the beginning of the spread. There really is no limit to what this creature will say to excuse/praise himself.

  2. raven says

    Once you get to a certain number, it’s going to go away.” Of course he does not specify what that number is but presumably it too will keep rising to be just above the total number of infected people (currently about 6.5 million people)

    Somewhere around 60% to 90% of the population must get Covid-19 and recover for herd immunity to happen.
    We don’t even know the percentage since this is a novel virus.

    It could take many years to reach that number.
    It would kill around 3 million people before we get there.
    People aren’t going to just sit there like rabbits on a road in the headlights.
    They will social distance, wear their masks, use hand sanitizer, and hide out somewhere.
    Not everyone, just the ones who want to live and don’t want to be a long hauler with permanent disabilities.

    So how many years to get to herd immunity?
    No one knows.
    I’ve heard 3 years maybe but that is just a wild guess.

  3. billseymour says

    Missouri allows absentee voting if you can give a good reason for it. One valid reason this year is being at risk for getting COVID-19, and one reason for being at risk is being over 65, which I am.

    For the primary last month, I requested an absentee ballot in-person at a St. Louis County election office and cast the ballot right there. I didn’t have to mail it in. I expect to do the same thing for the general election. Such early absentee voting begins six weeks prior to the election, which will be Sep. 22, just two weeks from tomorrow as I write this.

    There are two down-ballot races that are particularly important this time: state auditor Nicole Galloway is running against incumbent governor Mike Parson, and state senator Jill Schupp has a shot at ousting Second Congressional District representative Ann Wagner. Let’s hope.

  4. billseymour says

    Oh, yes…PS:

    TV ads against Galloway are screaming “socialism” and that she wants to “defund” (implicitly completely defund) the police. Ads against Schupp are claiming that she supports sexual predators. It’s all very ugly and transparently false, but all the McKloskeys of the area will undoubtedly be terrified.

  5. billseymour says

    Oops…I responded to the wrong post. I meant my comments to be about the “…red mirage” post.

    My excuse is that I was writing too quickly because the baseball game was about to start. We lost, 5 to 1. 8-(

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