Pence Tells Governors To Share Misleading Facts About Coronavirus Infections: Reports
Vice President Mike Pence has asked the country's governors, after several reports, to share misleading facts about ongoing coronavirus outbreaks in some states during a private call on Monday.
During the call, Pence, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, downplayed the increase in COVID-19 diagnoses in some regions, claiming that they were only “intermittent” virus spikes. He later urged President Donald Trump's government's discussion point that the higher numbers were simply due to an increase in testing, not actually higher infection rates. However, data shows that the seven-day average of new cases has increased in at least six states since May 31.
"I just want to encourage all of you as we talk about these things, to make sure and continue to explain to your citizens the scale of the increase in testing," Pence said on the call, according to a New York Times recording. "And in most cases where the number increases slightly, the extraordinary work you do will do better."
The Associated Press, which also received the audio, noted that Pence urged the heads of state to share the "progress we are making" with "appropriate gentleness and respect."
The call comes as the Trump administration continues to downplay the rise in coronavirus cases in some parts of the country. Infection rates have risen in at least 22 states over the past 14 days as most regions in the United States have started to reopen large parts of their economies.
Trump has also made misleading claims that infections only increase due to high test rates. He said Monday without proof, "If we stop testing now, we have very few, if any, cases."
A readout of the call, released later Monday by the White House, confirms that some states have seen an increase in cases and that Pence has asked governors to "provide updates on these situations."
Both Trump and Pence are scheduled to appear at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, despite calls for the event to be delayed due to the risk of the coronavirus spreading among the thousands that are likely to gather in a hall. Tulsa's largest newspaper slammed the event this week, saying it was the "wrong time" while stating that it was "not possible that his visit would be good for the city."
At least two states, Oregon and Utah, have pushed back their own easing of social distancing measures due to an increase in cases in recent days. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) also warned residents that he was willing to undo the reopening of some regions if companies violated policies to avert a second wave of cases.
Despite ongoing concerns about the spread of the virus, for which there is no proven treatment or vaccination, the Times Pence urged the focus to focus on the positive aspects of the nation's response.
"Encourage people to hear that we can safely reopen the country," he said during the call. “As we speak today, hospitalization rates can increase because people are returning to hospitals and elective surgery and receiving normal care. According to our most current information, hospitalizations due to coronavirus are declining nationwide. "
Trump suggests stopping COVID-19 testing would result in fewer cases
Pence says the COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma are "flattened" - 2 days after the record jump
Trump rally not welcome here, snaps Tulsa Newspaper Editorial
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