The last and the final United States Presidential debate, which took place at Belmont University in Nashville on Friday, 23 October, saw President Donald Trump once again repeating misleading and false claims about COVID-19, for which he has been fact-checked numerous times in the past.
Former Vice President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden too, made some incorrect statement pertaining to Obamacare and Social Security.
Here's a look at what the candidates got wrong in the final debate before the election scheduled to take place on 3 November.
1. CLAIM: DONALD TRUMP SAYS THE [CORONA]VIRUS IS 'GOING AWAY'
Talking about the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump once again downplayed the severity of the virus.
"We're rounding the corner. It's going away,” Trump said.
WHAT’S THE FACT?
The coronavirus situation in the USA has worsened in the past week with the country adding the highest daily cases in the world. The test positivity rate, according to John Hopkins University, is getting worse as well. Therefore, Trump’s claim that the USA is “rounding the corner” is false.
He also claimed that a cure for the virus was coming in a few weeks. “We have a vaccine that’s coming, it’s ready,” said Trump.
However, no vaccine has so far been approved the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA. Currently, four vaccines are in Phase 3 trials in the USA that are produced by Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Two of the four have been paused when participants developed unexplained illnesses.
2. BIDEN’S HANDLING OF H1N1 OUTBREAK WAS A DISASTER, SAYS TRUMP
Trump attacked Biden over his handling of the H1N1 epidemic again and Trump said, “And frankly, he ran the H1N1 swine flu and it was a total disaster. Far less lethal, but it was a total disaster,” Trump said.
“Had that had this kind of numbers, 7,00,000 people would be dead right now, but it was a far less lethal disease.”
WHAT’S THE FACT?
Trump made the same claim in the first presidential debate that took place on 30 September and The Quint fact-checked his claim in this report.
The Obama-led government had declared swine flu as a public health emergency on 26 April 2009, less than a week after the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first cases of infection.
The CDC estimates that around 1,51,700 to 5,75,400 lives were lost to the swine flu worldwide. The deaths in the USA were estimated at 12,469. The CDC credited the Obama administration's for its "complex, multi-faceted and long-term response".
A detailed report on the efforts taken by the government from 2009 to 2010 in combating H1N1 released by the CDC said that PCR tests were developed and cleared for use in less than two weeks of the outbreak. The H1N1 vaccine was made available in September 2009 and the first dose was administered on 5 October 2009.
COVID-19 has so far taken the lives of over 210,000 Americans in 253 days of the first reported case in the US.
3. CLAIM: ANTHONY [FAUCI] SAID DON’T WEAR MASKS, SAYS TRUMP
Trump reiterated his claims from the first debate and said that Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases asked people to not wear masks.
“Nobody knew where it was coming from, what it was. We've learned a lot. But Anthony said don't wear masks. Now he wants to wear masks,” Trump said.
WHAT’S THE FACT?
The Quint fact-checked Trump's claim from the first debate.
Trump misstated Dr Fauci's original statement in both the debates. Fauci, in late March, did say that “people should not be walking around with masks” but as soon as the virus spread, Fauci spoke about broadening the recommendation and since then has endorsed them.
In an interview to The Street in June, he said that while masks are not 100 percent protective, it’s definitely better than not wearing a mask at all as it can help in preventing the spread of infection from an asymptomatic person to somebody else.
He further said that while physical distancing is advised at all times but it might not be possible to maintain that distance each time, hence “we combine physical separation with a mask even though a mask is not 100 percent protective but it does give you some protection.”
When asked why citizens were not asked to wear masks from the very beginning, he said, “Although there appear to be some contradiction of, ‘You were saying this then, then why are you saying this now?’ – actually, the circumstances have changed, that’s the reason why.”
Later on in an interview with National Public Radio’s But he admitted that “mixed message in the beginning” on masks has been “detrimental in getting the message across.”
4. CLAIM: NO ONE LOST PRIVATE INSURANCE UNDER OBAMACARE, SAYS BIDEN
When asked about Biden’s healthcare promises, he said he was going to build and Obamacare and said, “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under ‘Obamacare,’ they did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.”
WHAT’S THE FACT?
When former President Barack Obama introduced the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said that if people liked their health insurance, they could keep it. However, that was not true for some.
When the ACA, also known as Obamacare, took effect in 2014, several million people lost individual health insurance plans because they no longer met minimum standards established by the new law.
PolitiFact, a non-profit fact-checking website, named "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it," the ‘Lie of the Year’ in 2013. White House was forced to offer a workaround because of the backlash they received, and President Obama apologised in an interview with NBC News.
“We weren’t as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place, and I want to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position, a better position than they were before this law happened. And I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News.
On Climate Change
5. CLAIM: US HAS LOWEST CARBON EMISSIONS NUMBERS IN 35 YEARS, TRUMP CLAIMS
When asked about his views on climate change, President Trump said, “we have the best carbon emission numbers that we’ve had in 35 years under this administration.”
WHAT’S THE FACT?
According to the American Lung Association, the air pollution increase in 2019’s report was worse than the past two reports, examined since 2013.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), although coal’s decline in the electric power sector has reduced emissions in that sector the overall emissions have continued to increase during President Trump’s tenure.
A report in The New York Times suggested that because of the dismantling of the Obama-era climate initiatives, USA will emit more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by 2035.
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