In tweets and different appearances, President Donald Trump has repeatedly in contrast his response to the brand new coronavirus with President Barack Obama’s dealing with of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. However Trump’s info is continuously incorrect or deceptive — and the 2 viruses are very completely different.
In a March Four phone interview with Fox Information’ Sean Hannity, for instance, Trump falsely claimed that the Obama administration “didn’t do something” in regards to the 2009 pandemic.
Trump, March 4: Effectively, I simply say that it’s, , a really, very small quantity on this nation. And we’re going to attempt to preserve it that means as a lot as attainable. I’ll say, although, the H1N1, that was swine flu, generally known as swine flu. And that went from round April of ’09 to April of ’10, the place there have been 60 million circumstances of swine flu. And over — truly, it’s over 13,000. I believe you may need mentioned 17. I had heard it was 13, however numerous — numerous deaths. And so they didn’t do something about it. Apparently, with the swine flu, kids have been — particularly, they have been susceptible, form of the other in that respect. However kids have been very susceptible to the swine flu. However they by no means did shut the borders. I don’t assume they ever did have the journey ban. And we did. And, once more, they misplaced not less than 13,000.
In a March 12 meeting with the prime minister of Eire, Trump repeated the sentiment.
“In case you return and take a look at the swine flu, and what occurred with the swine flu, you’ll see how many individuals died, and the way truly nothing was finished for such a protracted time period, as individuals have been dying all over,” he mentioned. “We’re doing it the other. We’re very a lot forward of all the pieces.”
Trump is appropriate on the variety of H1N1 circumstances and deaths, however it’s deceptive to match these figures to the present outbreak of COVID-19, which has simply begun. It’s additionally not true that the Obama administration did nothing or waited a very long time to behave on the H1N1 influenza pandemic.
In 2009, a brand new H1N1 influenza virus cropped up out of season, in late spring. Due to genetic similarities to influenza viruses in pigs, it became known as a “swine flu,” although there isn’t a proof the virus unfold between pigs or pigs to people.
In keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, there have been about 60.Eight million circumstances of an infection with the novel sort of influenza virus within the U.S. between April 2009 and April 2010, with a complete of roughly 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths.
Whereas that loss of life toll could sound excessive, it’s over a complete yr and, the truth is, ended up being far decrease than was initially expected. The pressure of influenza additionally turned out to have a case fatality fee of simply 0.02% — well below even many typical seasonal influenzas.
Every little thing that’s recognized in regards to the new coronavirus up to now means that it’s a wholly completely different beast than its most up-to-date pandemic predecessor. Peter Jay Hotez, a professor and dean of the tropical medication faculty at Baylor Faculty of Medication, instructed us that the brand new virus, which is called SARS-CoV-2, is significantly extra transmissible and extra deadly than H1N1.
For these causes, he mentioned, “the urgency to comprise this coronavirus is a lot better than the H1N1 2009 one was.”
Within the Hannity interview, Trump touted his journey restrictions and famous that Obama “by no means did shut the borders.” Paul A. Offit, chair of vaccinology on the Perelman Faculty of Medication on the College of Pennsylvania, agreed that Trump’s journey restrictions purchased the U.S. time to react, however he mentioned it didn’t make any sense to impose journey restrictions in 2009 for the reason that H1N1 was first reported in North America and the flu is “onerous to cease.”
“I don’t assume it’s a honest comparability,” Offit mentioned. “The flu is continually mutating – it often occurs in pig and people in southeast Asia – it’s actually onerous to cease that. Except you ban all journey anyplace on this planet to the USA you’d have had bother. That’s true with all flu pandemics. I don’t assume a journey ban would have ever made a distinction.”
Opposite to Trump’s suggestion that the Obama administration did “nothing,” officers declared a public well being emergency early within the H1N1 outbreak, secured funding from Congress and in the end declared a nationwide emergency, as we’ll clarify beneath.
On prime of that, the CDC sequenced the brand new virus, created testing kits, and the Meals and Drug Administration authorised a number of vaccines, amongst different actions.
Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, praised the CDC at a Home listening to in 2016 for shortly growing a vaccine for the swine flu in about six months — in time for the beginning of the varsity yr in September 2009. “In order that’s a 6-month time-frame if I’m doing my math appropriately that you just have been in a position to determine the genetic sequence of the virus, reverse engineer a vaccine, check it, guarantee its security and efficacy, and get it to highschool lecturers on the second week of faculty. That’s fairly spectacular,” he mentioned.
Trump mentioned in a tweet that the Obama administration’s response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic “was a full scale catastrophe.” Whereas he can have that opinion, there may be little to assist such a unfavorable view.
A New York Instances article from January 2010 mentioned that whereas some errors have been made, quite a lot of specialists thought the administration had typically dealt with issues properly.
William Schaffner of Vanderbilt College Faculty of Medication instructed the Instances that officers deserved “not less than a B-plus,” whereas Mount Sinai virologist Peter Palese referred to as the general response “glorious.”
Obama’s Emergency Declarations
In a single tweet, Trump quoted Fox Enterprise Community’s Lou Dobbs as misleadingly claiming that it “took 6 months for President Obama to declare a Nationwide Emergency” for the H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak that “killed 12,000 Individuals.” It’s true that Obama didn’t declare a nationwide emergency for six months, however that ignores a number of different steps the administration took, together with declaring a public well being emergency the identical month that the novel H1N1 infections have been first reported.
On the time of the tweet, Trump had not but declared a nationwide emergency for COVID-19.
(Dobbs’ precise quote was barely completely different. He mentioned on his March 12 present that it “took six months for President Obama to then declare a nationwide emergency, one which in the end killed greater than 12,000 Individuals and contaminated 60 million extra.”)
On April 15, 2009, the primary an infection was identified in California, in line with the CDC, and fewer than two weeks later, on April 26, 2009, the Obama administration declared a public well being emergency. The day earlier than, on April 25, the World Well being Group had declared a public well being emergency.
Dr. Richard Besser, then-acting director of the CDC, confirmed to the press on the day of the U.S. declaration that there have been 20 circumstances of H1N1 within the U.S., and that “all the people on this nation who’ve been recognized as circumstances have recovered.”
The identical day — April 26 — the CDC started releasing antiviral medicine to deal with the H1N1 flu, and two days later, the FDA authorised a brand new CDC check for the illness, according to a CDC timeline on the pandemic.
On April 30, 2009, two days after the general public well being emergency declaration, Obama formally requested Congress for $1.5 billion to battle the outbreak, and later requested for almost $9 billion, in accordance a September 2009 Congressional Analysis Service report. On June 26, 2009, Obama signed Congress’ supplemental appropriation invoice that included $7.7 billion for the outbreak.
The U.S. public well being emergency was renewed twice — on July 24, 2009, and Oct. 1, 2009.
The WHO declared H1N1 a pandemic on June 11, 2009. Obama declared a nationwide emergency associated to the pandemic on Oct. 24, 2009. On the time, the CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, had said tens of millions of individuals had been contaminated within the U.S. and greater than 1,000 had died. Additionally about 11.Three million doses of H1N1 vaccine had been distributed, he mentioned.
A month later, on Nov. 12, 2009, the CDC published a report that estimated there had been between 14 million and 34 million H1N1 circumstances between April 17 and Oct. 17, 2009, and a couple of,500 to six,000 H1N1-related deaths.
The H1N1 2009 flu pandemic in the end did kill 12,000 Individuals — the determine Dobbs used — in line with the midrange estimate from CDC for April 12, 2009, to April 10, 2010. The variety of circumstances totaled an estimated 60.Eight million individuals. To be clear, that pressure of the flu continues to trigger infections and deaths, not less than 75,000 deaths from 2009 to 2018, the CDC says.
Within the case of that pandemic, the outbreak started in Mexico and unfold shortly to the USA. The primary circumstances in Mexico have been recognized in March and early April 2009, with the Mexican authorities reporting an outbreak to the Pan American Well being Group on April 12, 2009, according to a CDC report.
Within the case of COVID-19, the earliest known instances of the illness occurred in early December in Wuhan, China, and officers reported an outbreak to the WHO on Dec. 31. The CDC announced the primary American case on Jan. 21. The Trump administration declared a public well being emergency on Jan. 31, sooner or later after the WHO did so, and announced a nationwide emergency on March 13. Two days earlier than, the WHO had declared the worldwide outbreak a pandemic.
Trump Misleads on Polls Once more
In yet one more tweet, Trump once more misleadingly cited ballot info to say he has “78%” approval of his administration’s response to the brand new coronavirus outbreak.
He claimed this was “the very best on file,” whereas Biden’s approval score for the response to the H1N1 outbreak “was lowest.” Even in line with a dated ballot, the H1N1 approval wasn’t the bottom.
As we’ve written before when the president cited Gallup, a poll by the company, taken Feb. 3-16 and launched Feb. 20, earlier than anybody had died from COVID-19 on this nation, discovered that 77% of Individuals have been very or considerably assured that the federal government would be capable to deal with an outbreak of recent coronavirus. That was the next share than American confidence in earlier administrations’ potential to take care of Zika, Ebola, swine flu and chook flu, in line with a mean of polls. However the confidence in swine flu was the second highest — at 67% — not the “lowest,” as Trump claimed.
And because the variety of circumstances and deaths have grown, public confidence within the Trump administration has decreased, in line with several polls. A Quinnipiac poll, taken March 5-Eight and launched March 9, discovered 43% of registered voters mentioned they authorised of the best way Trump is dealing with the outbreak response.
With the swine flu, nonetheless, not less than two polls confirmed larger approval of the Obama administration (the polls didn’t ask about Biden). A Washington Submit-ABC Information ballot taken in October 2009 found 69% of adults have been assured within the federal authorities’s potential to reply to an outbreak. A CNN ballot launched in early November 2009 found 57% authorised of Obama’s response.
Additionally, Trump could have given Biden a promotion, claiming he “was in command of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic.” After we requested the Biden marketing campaign about that, we have been instructed that the previous vp “helped lead” the response to the pandemic “however was not the highest official for it.”