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"For Trump, the coronavirus crisis is all about the numbers — and they don’t look good"

The Washington Post interviewed Dr. Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor of health policy and management at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, about the Trump Administration’s decisions regarding the COVID-19 fight. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

During weeks of briefings and discussions over the escalating coronavirus, President Trump has repeatedly fixated on one thing above all: the numbers.

He has aggressively quizzed aides about infection statistics — asking how many cases are in each state, and how the quantity compares with other countries. He has clung to the rosiest projections, repeating only the figures that support his belief that the coronavirus is not morphing into a global catastrophe. And he has intensely followed the plummeting stock market, which plunged more than 1,600 points Wednesday.

Trump’s obsession with numbers — both publicly and privately — has dominated and shaped the administration’s response to the coronavirus, as advisers and public health experts try to placate a leader who largely views the global pandemic through the political lens of how the statistics reflect on his presidency and hopes for reelection. This account is based on interviews with more than a dozen administration officials and other observers, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.