Don’t Let The Media Fool You: The U.S. Is Far From The Worst On COVID-19

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 21, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

In the United States, the Democrats have been promulgating a simple message since the COVID-19 pandemic began: Donald Trump is to blame. Whether argued subtly — through accusations of ineptitude, carelessness, or denial — or overtly — with Joe Biden saying that Trump was responsible for every single COVID-19 death, and that had Biden been president, not one of these deaths would have occurred — this strategy has been central to their policies and messaging.

If you were to pay attention to this rhetoric, you would believe that the United States is being hit harder than any other country in the world, that the United States has the worst rankings in any COVID-19 related data table, and that American leadership (at least, Republican leadership) is the sole cause of such unique and isolated failure.

My Christmas vacation proved this to be utter nonsense.

Every Christmas, I travel from California to spend the holiday with my family in South East England. Last year, I was fortunate enough to “escape” the beginning of the pandemic. This year, my journey was certainly less convenient. I wore a mask on an 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to London — yes, mask breath is real — and was required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. However, what I’ve witnessed on British television and newspapers during my time here is the sort of bureaucratic and journalistic fear-mongering that would make Andrew Cuomo and Chris Cuomo blush with embarrassment.

The situation was already tense, with various levels of lockdown and COVID-19 related requirements enforced across the country. After a new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 spread rapidly in the UK, however, panic mode was initiated. More than 40 countries have implemented a flight ban, including India, Canada, and Hong Kong, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped plans to loosen restrictions for Christmas, with the introduction of a new “Tier 4” in the South East of England which effectively placed over 16 million people under “stay at home” orders.

During this time, much of the rhetoric from politicians and journalists alike has focused on “following the science,” with spikes in cases used to justify an immediate return of widespread lockdowns. Government officials stand behind a podium adorned with the slogan “Hands. Face. Space,” encouraging people to wash their hands, cover their face, and socially distance. Meanwhile, those who criticize or question the closure of businesses one week before Christmas are condemned for “ignoring the science,” or “being selfish.” 

Simultaneously, the media went into overdrive to target Boris Johnson. The Mirror went with the headline “Bungling Boris Johnson is to blame for Christmas chaos and he must resign now.” The Independent had “Boris Johnson only has himself to blame over Europe seeing us as the ‘sick man of Europe.’” The Guardian went with “Covid demands seriousness, not this government’s theatre of the absurd.” With seemingly endless COVID-19 coverage on news channels, pundits and pseudo-scientists alike jostle to warn us of the dark days ahead, that the UK is worst country in the world in its fight against the pandemic, and that the government is to blame.

Sound familiar?

At the best of times, if you remain in one country for an extended period of time, it’s easy to become isolated from the reality of the rest of the world. During a global pandemic when lockdown has become our “new normal,” such isolation is almost unavoidable. However, it is this isolation which fuels the hyperbole of the political partisans and the attention-seeking media.

If you are able to escape this isolation, you will discover that many other countries believe that they are uniquely impacted by COVID-19, and that the leader of every other country is doing a better job than theirs. In almost all cases, that’s simply not true, as shown by the data.

Firstly, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom are the “worst.” Yes, the United States has the highest number of reported cases, but they have also performed more tests than any other country (almost 240 million to date, with second place India performing just over 163 million). Yes, the United States has the highest number of reported COVID-19 deaths, but in deaths per million people, the United States is 12th in the world and the United Kingdom is 11th. To find “the worst,” when adjusting for population, we see that Andorra has the most total cases per million people, and San Marino has the most deaths per million people. Despite this clear data, we still refuse to see beyond our own borders.

Whether in the USA, UK, or elsewhere, remember that politicians are equally inept, many journalists are equally disingenuous, and “science” remains a subjective political tool while actual science remains objective on a global scale. If we actually follow the science, we’re not failing anywhere near as much as many wish us to believe.

Don’t let them fool you.

Ian Haworth is host of The Ian Haworth Show and The Truth in 60 Seconds. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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