Why Trump’s Latest COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory Is Especially Dangerous

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While Donald Trump’s tumultuous campaign may be entering the final stretch ahead of next week’s election, his barrage of conspiracy theories and misinformation is continuing at full speed. At a Friday campaign rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, Trump made the claim that doctors are exaggerating Covid-19 deaths to increase their profits, telling his supporters that “our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid.” An unfounded allegation that first gained traction on conspiracy theory websites and message boards, there is no evidence to support this claim, with the American Medical Association stating on Twitter that “rather than attacking and lobbing baseless charges at physicians, our leaders should be following the science.”

It comes at a pivotal moment for the campaign, which has used easily disproved falsehoods as a means of sowing chaos and confusion around the pandemic during an already turbulent time. Donald Trump Jr.’s claim in an interview with Fox News on Thursday that coronavirus deaths in America right now are “almost nothing” coincided with the highest single-day total of 90,000 new coronavirus infections recorded, and experts are currently predicting it could cross the 100,000 threshold within weeks. Trump’s new accusation, clearly intended to foster distrust between the public and the medical community, is merely his latest attempt to add fuel to the fire.

Naturally, many took to Twitter to counter Trump’s claim, with various medical professionals airing their frustrations and describing it as “atrocious,” “laughable,” and “abhorrent.”

Notably, Trump’s provocative statement stood in stark contrast to that of Joe Biden, who is also currently on the campaign trail in the Midwest, a critical region for undecided voters ahead of next Tuesday’s ballot. At a campaign event in Minnesota on Friday, Biden took a hard line against Trump’s lies and inaction. “The President of the United States is accusing the medical profession of making up Covid deaths so they make more money,” Biden told his supporters. “Doctors and nurses go to work every day to save lives. They do their jobs. Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job.” With just three days to go until the final ballots are cast, and as the U.S. prepares to enter the next phase of the pandemic, we can only hope it will be a job that will fall into safer, scientifically-informed hands.

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