As US President Donald Trump was painting a positive picture of the coronavirus pandemic and urging states to reopen the nation’s businesses and schools, data from the White House coronavirus task force released Monday shows he was getting increasingly dire reports about the spread of the pandemic in July and August.
The House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus on Monday published eight weeks’ worth of state reports compiled by the White House task force.
The task force releases these reports each week to governors’ offices for their respective states, and has previously declined to make them publicly available or confirm the authenticity of any of the data reported. There had been some discussion on a call with governors earlier this month, audio of which was obtained by CNN, about making some of the data publicly accessible in real time, but that has yet to happen.
“Rather than being straight with the American people and creating a national plan to fix the problem, the President and his enablers kept these alarming reports private while publicly downplaying the threat to millions of Americans,” subcommittee Chairman James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said in a statement.
The most recent of the eight reports released by the subcommittee is dated August 9. Since then, the course of the pandemic has changed, improving in some places and getting worse in others.
The 459-page August 9 report has a section for each state, which includes extensive data on the state’s cases down to a county level, as well as detailed, private recommendations to state and local officials to slow the spread, including promoting social distancing and face coverings, implementing contact tracing, and closing bars and nightclubs in “red zone” states.
The “red zone” indicates there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population and/or test positivity is above 10%, per the task force’s definition. There were 20 states in the task force’s “red zone” as of August 9.
The “yellow zone” indicates between 10 and 100 new cases per 100,000 population and/or test positivity between 5 and 10%, per the task force’s definition. There were 28 states plus the District of Columbia in the “yellow zone.”
Just two states, Maine and Vermont, were in the green zones for test positivity and cases.
On the same day that report was released, Trump claimed that coronavirus cases were rising due to increased testing, which is disproven by the many states in the report with rising test positivity rates — meaning the proportion of people who test positive compared to negative, which can signal a burgeoning outbreak.
Read more about the report: