The White House included ending the coronavirus pandemic on a list of the Trump administration’s science and technology accomplishments, despite nearly half a million Americans tested positive for Covid-19 in just the last week.
A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy news release made the claim in announcing a document highlighting the administration’s science and technology achievements over the past four years.
“Highlights include: ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC,” the news release sent to reporters read. “From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”
When asked for comment on including ending the pandemic among the administration’s first term accomplishments, office spokeswoman Kristina Baum pointed to the full report.
“The great work the Trump administration is doing to end the pandemic is a top priority and worthy of highlighting,” she said in an email.
But on Wednesday, White House communications director Alyssa Farah said the release was “poorly worded.”
“The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus. But what I would say is this: because of the President’s leadership, we are rounding the corner on the virus,” she added.
The news release comes as the country reports the largest number of daily cases seen to date. The seven-day average of daily new cases reached an all-time high of 68,767 on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The previous record of 67,293 was set July 22.
The abysmal week was marked by the two worst days of daily new cases reported since the pandemic began. More than 83,000 new cases were reported both Friday and Saturday, and the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases has soared 23% in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins data on Monday. The seven-day average of new tests performed, meanwhile, has risen only 2.87% over the past week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
The President has repeatedly, falsely, blamed the increase in cases on an increase in testing.
New cases are also being seen within the administration itself. At least five aides to Vice President Mike Pence, including his bodyman and his chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, sources told CNN.
The internal report that the news release was describing did not say that the Covid-19 pandemic is over. It merely touted the administration’s various actions to fight it.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Administration has taken several actions to engage scientists in academia, industry, and government to understand and defeat this disease,” the report says.
It later states that the administration’s vaccine initiative “Operation Warp Speed, public-private partnerships, and other decisive actions taken by the Trump Administration have provided American scientists, engineers, and healthcare professionals with the knowledge, tools, and technologies needed to understand and defeat this ‘invisible enemy.’ “