As the second wave of coronavirus infections continues to sweep across the US and Europe, it's worth noting while infection rates have skyrocketed dramatically the virus is killing far fewer people due in part to better treatment options and the age groups of those infected.

Deaths are not increasing in proportion to the rise in infections with a marked reduction in the fatality rate compared to earlier in the year.

The UK had a fatality rate of close to 3 per cent in June compared to the current figure of around 0.75 per cent, according to Oxford University's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

Similarly, the US has seen a significantly lower percentage of infected people dying with or from the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Europe's second wave has overtaken the US in cases per capita. Over the past two weeks the number of new daily cases in the US has been between 40,000 and 70,000 with the country recording close to 230,000 deaths since the pandemic began, most of which have been among people over 75.

For context just over 2,330,000 people have died in the US this year from all causes. If you believed the bulk of the media reporting you'd think that the COVID response in the US was the worst in the world and it's all down to President Donald Trump aka Orange Man Bad for our Resistance friends.

But just like Australia, the US is a federation, meaning governors are largely responsible for the COVID response in their state just like state premiers are responsible in Australia.

Some states have done a competent job, some states have been disaster zones. It is the governors who determine what restrictions will be imposed, whether lockdowns will be utilised, if schools are closed and how to manage the most vulnerable members of the community, the old and the infirm.

The worst performing states with deaths per capita well above the national average are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Louisiana. Four of the five are run by Democrat governors and one by a Republican. This shouldn't be a red or blue issue but the Democrats have sought to use COVID-19 as a political tool, and thanks to the enthusiastic assistance of the media, they have largely succeeded.

Before coronavirus hit, Trump was hot favourite to be re-elected with the economy booming, unemployment at a 50-year low and healthy wages growth.



Now, the polls show him trailing by as much as 12 per cent among likely voters.

But blaming Trump for the disastrous decision of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is like blaming Scott Morrison for what happened in Victoria.

Just like Morrison had nothing to do with Victoria's hotel quarantine disaster, Trump had nothing to do with Cuomo directing nursing homes to accept COVID patients, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths.

New York City was such a disaster zone it became the primary source of infections around the US, according to epidemiologists from the Yale School of Public Health.

The New York Governor, far from being derided for his woeful COVID response which has seen the state record a per capita death rate about 250 per cent higher than the US average, is lauded by most of the media.

Cuomo is currently hawking a book he wrote about his leadership during the COVID-19 response.
I wish I was joking.

Like Morrison, President Trump was among the first to ban travel from China, utilised the military to support coronavirus response efforts and has steadfastly carried out the wishes of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, despite his displeasure with some of their advice.

Could he have done better?
Yes, but if you look at the substance of what he did compared to his tweets or media misrepresentations about "hoaxes'' and "bleach'', Trump's response has not been anything like what the Trump-deranged media would have you believe.


Trump's instincts may have always been to reopen the economy, but it is the governors who determined when and how restrictions were lifted.

The notion that a prolonged lockdown is the answer is at odds with the experience in Europe where countries that locked down the longest and the hardest among those heaviest hit in the second wave including Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and the UK.

Indeed, the latter three are currently recording their highest daily caseload numbers since the pandemic began.

Incredibly all of the above, with the exception of France, have a higher per capita death rate than Sweden which was alone in adopting a "herd immunity'' strategy.


Originally published as Media misses the mark on COVID reality in US

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