Plenty of peer-reviewed studies have found government restrictions early in the pandemic, such as business closures and physical distancing measures, reduced COVID-19 cases and/or mortality, compared with what would have happened without those measures. But conservative news outlets and commentators have seized on a much-criticized, unpublished working paper that concluded “lockdowns” had only a small impact on mortality as definitive evidence the restrictions don’t work.
COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020. But a meme featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis minimizes the toll the pandemic already has taken — particularly among the elderly. The meme also questions getting inoculated, despite the safety record of the vaccines and DeSantis’ public support for vaccines.
An economics professor’s flawed interpretation of U.S. mortality data has prompted a viral, false claim that COVID-19 hasn’t led to more deaths than normal this year. In fact, multiple analyses have found there to be a higher-than-normal number of deaths during the pandemic — as much as 20%, according to some studies.
President Donald Trump exaggerated Americans’ comparative success battling the coronavirus, falsely saying in a press briefing that the U.S. per capita death rate is lower than “most” of Western Europe. He also claimed a 9% decrease in COVID-19 fatalities over the past week, but the data do not show such a decline.