White House science office takes credit for 'ending' pandemic as infections mount

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The White House’s science policy office on Tuesday ranked “ending the Covid-19 pandemic” atop the list of President Donald Trump’s top first-term accomplishments, even as the country registers record amounts of infections and hospitals fill up again.

The list, included in a press release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy credits the administration for taking “decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

It’s the latest inaccurate claim from the administration on the severity of the pandemic, which Trump has downplayed throughout his reelection campaign, and as Vice President Mike Pence’s office is dealing with an outbreak. Trump, who insists the country is “rounding the turn” on the coronavirus, continues to hold packed campaign rallies and attacks the news media for focusing on surging infections.

Despite the White House’s optimistic rhetoric, health officials warn that things could get worse as winter approaches and people are forced to spend more time indoors.

Last week, the country set a new record of 83,000 cases in a single day, and the seven-day case average is now hovering around 70,000 — more than any other time during the pandemic. Over 42,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, up from about 30,000 one month ago, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The Tuesday press release from the White House science office touting “Science and Technology Accomplishments” includes a report detailing some of the “significant investments, accomplishments, policies, and other actions undertaken by President Trump to advance science and technology.”

“The highlights in this report represent just a fraction of the achievements made by the Trump Administration on behalf of the American people,” Kelvin Droegemeier, who heads the office, said in a statement. “We have achieved a proud record of results, and under President Trump’s leadership, science and technology will continue to inspire us, unite us, and guide us to ever greater progress.”

The report itself does not mention ending the pandemic as an accomplishment, a spokesperson for the office later noted on Twitter. The spokesperson said the report was intended to highlight the administration’s progress on confronting the pandemic.

The U.S. so far has recorded more than 8.7 million coronavirus cases and at least 226,000 deaths, more than any other country.

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