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Reality check: A look at Trump’s claims on coronavirus, the U.S. economy and Biden – Globalnews.ca

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If saying things 100 times could make them true, U.S. President Donald Trump‘s account of how the U.S. is doing with the coronavirus would be true.

COVID-19 testing would be the envy of the world, the economy would be on the cusp of roaring back, the threat would be receding in a pandemic that has sickened more than 3.1 million Americans and killed more than 133,000.

But repetition doesn’t make for reality. The U.S. is taking a disproportionate hit from the coronavirus globally and does not have it under control.

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Trump cancels New Hampshire rally over Tropical Storm Fay

A look at how rhetoric from the past week compares with the facts on various fronts:

Virus

TRUMP: “For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven’t done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better. We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc. NOT REPORTED!” — tweet Thursday.

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THE FACTS: His notion that infections are high only because the U.S. diagnostic testing has increased is false. His own top public health officials have shot down this line of thinking. Infections are rising because people are infecting each other more than they were when most everyone was hunkered down.






2:03
Trump calls Biden a ‘puppet’ of socialism


Trump calls Biden a ‘puppet’ of socialism

It’s true that increased testing also contributes to the higher numbers. When you look harder, you’re going to see more. But the testing has uncovered a worrisome trend: The percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus is on the rise across nearly the entire country.

That’s a clear demonstration that sickness is spreading and that the U.S. testing system is falling short.

Read more:
Coronavirus: U.S. sets single-day record with 60,000 new cases of COVID-19

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“A high rate of positive tests indicates a government is only testing the sickest patients who seek out medical attention and is not casting a wide enough net,” says the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, a primary source of updated information on the pandemic.

Americans are being confronted with long lines at testing sites, often disqualified if they are not showing symptoms and, if tested, forced to wait many days for results.

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TRUMP on the coronavirus: “We have the lowest Mortality Rate in the World.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: This statement is wholly unsupported.

An accurate death rate is impossible to know. Every country tests and counts people differently, and some are unreliable in reporting cases. Without knowing the true number of people who become infected, it cannot be determined what portion of them die.

Using a count kept by Johns Hopkins University, you can compare the number of recorded deaths with the number of reported cases. That count shows the U.S. experiencing more deaths as a percentage of cases than most other countries now being hit hard with the pandemic. The statistics look better for the U.S. when the list is expanded to include European countries that were slammed early on by the virus but now appear to have it under control. Even then, the U.S. is not shown to be among the best in avoiding death.

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Such calculations, though, do not provide a reliable measurement of actual death rates, because of the variations in testing and reporting, and the Johns Hopkins tally is not meant to be such a measure.






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Coronavirus: Top health official in Tulsa says Trump rally likely ‘contributed’ to COVID-19 spike


Coronavirus: Top health official in Tulsa says Trump rally likely ‘contributed’ to COVID-19 spike

The only way to tell how many cases have gone uncounted, and therefore what percentage of infected people have died from the disease, is to do another kind of test comprehensively, of people’s blood, to find how many people bear immune system antibodies to the virus. Globally, that is only being done in select places.

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TRUMP: “Deaths in the U.S. are way down.” — tweet Monday, one of at least a half dozen heralding a drop in daily deaths from the virus.

THE FACTS: It’s true that deaths dipped even as infections spiked in many parts of the country. But deaths lag sickness and the spikes have not played out.

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“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday. He advised Americans: “Don’t get yourself into false complacency.”

Read more:
Trump’s Tulsa rally ‘more than likely’ behind new coronavirus surge: health official

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Economy

TRUMP: “Job growth is biggest in history.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Yes, but only because it is following the greatest job losses in history, by far.

The U.S. economy shed more than 22 million jobs in March and April, wiping out nearly a decade of job growth in just two months, as the viral outbreak intensified and nearly all states shut down nonessential businesses. Since then, 7.5 million, or about one-third, of those jobs have been recovered as businesses reopened. Even after those gains, the unemployment rate is 11.1%, down from April and May but otherwise higher than at any point since the Depression.






2:28
Trump pushes for U.S. schools to reopen this fall


Trump pushes for U.S. schools to reopen this fall

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TRUMP: “Economy and Jobs are growing MUCH faster than anyone (except me!) expected.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Not really. It’s true that May’s gain of 2.7 million jobs was unexpected. Economists had forecast another month of job losses. But most economists projected hiring would sharply rebound by June or at the latest July, once businesses began to reopen. The gains kicked in a month earlier than forecast.

Now, though, coronavirus cases are rising in most states, imperiling the climb back. In six states representing one-third of the economy — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and Texas — governors are reversing their reopening plans, and the restart is on pause in 15 other states. Such reversals are keeping layoffs elevated and threatening to weaken hiring.

Trump on Biden

TRUMP campaign ad, playing out a scenario where a person needing help calls the police in a Biden presidency and gets a voice recording: “You have reached the 911 police emergency line. Due to defunding of the police department, we’re sorry but no one is here to take your call.” The ad closes with the message: “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

THE FACTS: Biden has not joined the call of protesters who demanded “defund the police” after Floyd’s killing. He’s proposed more money for police, conditioned to improvements in their practices.

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“I don’t support defunding the police,“ Biden said last month in a CBS interview. But he said he would support tying federal aid to police based on whether “they meet certain basic standards of decency, honourableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community, everybody in the community.”






1:02
Kudlow says Canada’s strict COVID-19 restrictions to blame for Trudeau not attending USMCA summit


Kudlow says Canada’s strict COVID-19 restrictions to blame for Trudeau not attending USMCA summit

Biden’s criminal justice agenda, released long before he became the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, proposes more federal money for “training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths” and hiring more officers to ensure that departments are racially and ethnically reflective of the populations they serve.

Specifically, he calls for a $300 million infusion into existing federal community policing grant programs.

That adds up to more money for police, not defunding law enforcement.

Biden also wants the federal government to spend more on education, social services and struggling areas of cities and rural America, to address root causes of crime.

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U.S. allies, China criticize Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from WHO

Democrats, meanwhile, have pointed to Trump’s repeated proposals in the administration’s budget to cut community policing and mediation programs at the Justice Department. Congressional Republicans say the program can be effectively merged with other divisions, but Democrats have repeatedly blocked the effort. The program has been used to help provide federal oversight of local police departments.

Despite proposed cuts, Attorney General William Barr last month said that the department would use the COPS program funding to hire over 2,700 police officers at nearly 600 departments across the country.

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REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE email: “In the wake of rioting, looting, and tragic murders ripping apart communities across the country, Joe Biden said `Yes, absolutely’ he wants to defund the police.” — email Wednesday from Steve Guest, RNC’s rapid response director.

THE FACTS: That’s misleading, a selective use of Biden’s words on the subject.






2:16
Joe Biden attacks Trump’s COVID-19 remarks: ‘He’s worried about looking bad’


Joe Biden attacks Trump’s COVID-19 remarks: ‘He’s worried about looking bad’

The email links to an excerpted video clip of Biden’s conversation with liberal activist Ady Barkan, who endorsed Biden on Wednesday after supporting Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries. A full recording of that conversation, provided by the Biden campaign to The Associated Press, shows he again declined to support defunding police,

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Barkan raises the issue of police reform and asks whether Biden would funnel money into social services, mental health counselling and affordable housing to help reduce civilian interactions with police.

Biden responds that he is calling for increased funding for mental health providers but “that’s not the same as getting rid of or defunding all the police” and that both approaches are needed, including more money for community police.

Asked again by Barkan, “so we agree that we can redirect some of the funding,” Biden then answers “absolutely yes.”

Biden then gives the caveat that he means “not just redirect” federal money potentially but “condition” it on police improvements.

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Coronavirus: Trump threatens to withhold federal funding if schools don’t reopen in fall

“If they don’t eliminate choke holds, they don’t get (federal) grants, if they don’t do the following, they don’t get any help,” Biden replied.

“The vast majority of all police departments are funded by the locality, funded by the municipality, funded by the state,” he added. “It’s only the federal government comes in on top of that, and so it says you want help, you have to do the following reforms,.”

Biden on Trump

BIDEN: “President Trump claimed to the American people that he was a wartime leader, but instead of taking responsibility, Trump has waved a white flag, revealing that he ordered the slowing of testing and having his administration tell Americans that they simply need to `live with it.” — statement Wednesday marking the rise in U.S. coronavirus infections to more than 3 million.

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THE FACTS: To be clear, the government did not slow testing on the orders of the president.

Trump at first denied he was joking when he told a Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on June 20 that he said “to my people, `Slow the testing down, please”’ because “they test and they test.” Days later he said he didn’t really mean it.

In any event, a succession of his public-health officials testified to Congress that the president never asked them to slow testing and that they were doing all they could to increase it. But testing remains markedly insufficient.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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JOSH LAUGHREN: No green recovery without blue economy, and no blue economy without fish – SaltWire Network

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JOSH LAUGHREN

As the federal government prepares the throne speech for Sept. 23, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rightly emphasized the importance of planning for a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The $32-billion “blue economy” — our oceans — must be part of this strategy.  

The pandemic, climate change, habitat destruction and persistent overfishing have made it more urgent than ever that we invest in our oceans as the Earth’s most important life-support system. Canada now has a unique and powerful opportunity to make our oceans part of a sustainable recovery from COVID-19.  

According to government figures, the oceans are a source of approximately 350,000 jobs in Canada — often in communities with few other employment options. The term “blue economy” is a flexible one that can include almost anything related to the ocean: energy, shipping, tourism, recreation, aquaculture, transmission cables and much more. But now, more than ever before, we cannot afford to ignore the original and still vital foundation of the blue economy: wild fish to support the domestic seafood industry.   

Canada’s fisheries have been severely depleted over many decades, to the point where Oceana Canada’s latest fishery audit shows that only about a quarter of them can confidently be considered healthy. The value of Canada’s wild-caught seafood is dominated by a few shellfish species like lobster, crab and shrimp, leaving little room for error. And the situation is not improving. Our annual audits show that the overall health of Canada’s fish stocks continue to decline. The number of healthy populations has decreased from 2017 to 2020, despite new investments in science and management. 

The outcomes of Canada’s current approach to fisheries management has real costs for Canadians and coastal communities. A recent study by Rashid Sumaila and Louise Teh at the University of British Columbia, commissioned by Oceana Canada, showed rebuilding fisheries can deliver long-term economic and social gains for five of the six high-valued stocks they studied. The most optimistic scenario estimated a gain of 11 times more economic value than today. As we have seen from examples all over the world, wild fish populations will usually rebound if we just give them a chance. Failure to do so represents a massive loss for future generations. 

There is reason for hope. Successive governments under the leadership of Trudeau have restored funding to fisheries science, improved the transparency of fisheries data and greatly increased the amount of marine habitat protected. And the modernized Fisheries Act, which became law last year, requires depleted fish stocks to be rebuilt. But laws are only effective if implemented, and so far, the regulations needed to support the act have not been completed.  

Trudeau and the minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, have stated that the blue economy is essential for Canada’s economic recovery. In fact, it is so important it is at the top of the fisheries minister’s mandate letter. Just two months into the pandemic, Trudeau urged us all to “buy Canadian” to “help the people who keep food on our plates,” as his government invested $470 million to help fisheries recover. But you can’t buy Canadian fish if there are no fish to catch. And in many communities along all three coasts, without fish to catch there will be no long-term recovery. 

This throne speech and new mandate will be a watershed moment in Canadian history. Canada’s deputy prime minister and newly minted minister of finance recently said that our country’s economic recovery needs to be green, equitable, inclusive and focused on jobs and growth. We agree.  

There is no green recovery without a blue economy, and no blue economy without fish. 

Josh Laughren is the executive director of Oceana Canada, an independent charity established to restore Canadian oceans to be as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were.

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China's economy remains resilient despite external risks, says Xi – Reuters Canada

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FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the meeting to commend role models in China’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy remains resilient and there are ample policy tools at Beijing’s disposal despite rising external risks, President Xi Jinping said in remarks published on Saturday.

The world’s second-largest economy has steadily recovered from a virus-induced slump, but analysts say policymakers face a tough job to maintain stable expansion over the next several years to turn China into a high-income nation.

“The basic characteristics of China’s economy with sufficient potential, great resilience, strong vitality, large space for manoeuvre and many policy instruments have not changed,” Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.

China has strong manufacturing capacity, very large domestic markets and huge investment potentials, Xi said.

Xi reaffirmed a “dual circulation” strategy that would help steer the economy towards greater self-reliance, as U.S. hostility and a global pandemic increase external risks.

China still enjoyed “strategic opportunities” in its development, although the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated global challenges as globalisation slows and unilateralism and protectionism are rising, Xi was quoted as saying at a meeting on the country’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025).

“We must seek our development in a more unstable and uncertain world,” he said.

Xi urged calmness amid rising difficulties and challenges.

“The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation can never be achieved easily with the beating of gongs and drums,” he said.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Alex Richardson

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China's economy remains resilient despite external risks, says Xi – SaltWire Network

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy remains resilient and there are ample policy tools at Beijing’s disposal despite rising external risks, President Xi Jinping said in remarks published on Saturday.

The world’s second-largest economy has steadily recovered from a virus-induced slump, but analysts say policymakers face a tough job to maintain stable expansion over the next several years to turn China into a high-income nation.

“The basic characteristics of China’s economy with sufficient potential, great resilience, strong vitality, large space for manoeuvre and many policy instruments have not changed,” Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.

China has strong manufacturing capacity, very large domestic markets and huge investment potentials, Xi said.

Xi reaffirmed a “dual circulation” strategy that would help steer the economy towards greater self-reliance, as U.S. hostility and a global pandemic increase external risks.

China still enjoyed “strategic opportunities” in its development, although the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated global challenges as globalisation slows and unilateralism and protectionism are rising, Xi was quoted as saying at a meeting on the country’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025).

“We must seek our development in a more unstable and uncertain world,” he said.

Xi urged calmness amid rising difficulties and challenges.

“The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation can never be achieved easily with the beating of gongs and drums,” he said.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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