Report: Pence Encouraged Governors To Downplay New Community Spread Of Virus
The Hill reports that according to audio of a call obtained by the New York Times, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged state governors to attribute rises in COVID-19 case counts to increased testing and to downplay ideas of new community spread.
- Pence advised governors to adopt President Donald J. Trump’s explanation for the increasing case counts: that more testing is primarily to blame for more positive cases, rather than more spread. He said, “continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing… in most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rise in number, that’s more a result of the extraordinary work you’re doing.”
- This echoes sentiments expressed by Trump in a meeting earlier that day, as reported by the Times: “If we stop testing right now,, we’d have very few cases, if any.”
- Pence also urged governors to “encourage people with the news that we are safely reopening the country.”
Pence mentioned that “The president often talks about embers,” and he attributed the spread to localized, “intermittent” spikes in places such as nursing homes, rather than to untraced community spread as some local officials have, such as in Washington, D.C.
As we go through the summer, as we see, over all, as you all know, around the country, that despite a mass increase in testing, we are still averaging roughly 20,000 cases a day, which is significantly down from six weeks ago.
- However, according to the Times’ data analysis, Pence’s claims are somewhat misleading. Although the national average does seem to be down from six weeks prior according to Johns Hopkins University data, the Times reports that seven-day averages for several states are up.
- Also, in at least fourteen states the number of presumptive positive cases is exceeding the amount of testing conducted.
- Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does show that COVID-19 hospitalizations are down nationally. However, positive cases continue to rise.