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In an op-ed published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, Vice President Mike Pence slammed the media for stirring up “panic” and attempting to “scare” people about a second coronavirus wave.
“In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown,” Pence wrote. “Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our public health system is far stronger than it was four months ago, and we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.”
The vice president was responding to a spree of media reports in the last week of a coronavirus case spike occurring across the Sun Belt and in the western region of the country.
The New York Times reported Sunday that 22 states — including Texas, Arizona, and Florida — have experienced an increase in confirmed cases since reopening. In another report Wednesday, the Washington Post added that nine states have hit record highs in the last week.
“While talk of an increase in cases dominates cable news coverage, more than half of states are actually seeing cases decline or remain stable,” Pence wrote in the op-ed.
It should also be noted that many state and local leaders knew an increase in cases might follow as a result of reopening but determined the economic risks of remaining in lockdown outweighed the possibility of new infections.
The new surge in confirmed cases also coincides with nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The White House coronavirus task force warned governors last week to prepare for such a spike.
Nevertheless, Pence argued that the goal of slowing the spread so as to not overwhelm the health system has been obtained.
“The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different. The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success,” Pence said. “We’ve slowed the spread, we’ve cared for the most vulnerable, we’ve saved lives, and we’ve created a solid foundation for whatever challenges we may face in the future. That’s a cause for celebration, not the media’s fearmongering.”
The latest data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the United States has reported more than 2 million confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the outbreak and more than 117,000 deaths.