MSNBC Wrongly Claims Europe Handling Pandemic Better Than US

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Sunday's AM Joy show on MSNBC, as she spoke with several medical doctors about the coronavirus pandemic, host Joy Reid claimed that countries with universal health care are handling the crisis better than the U.S., and even asserted that America's "former allies" in Europe are, "quite frankly, having better outcomes than we are."

Reid made this claim in spite of the fact that per capita deaths in most major countries in Europe have have been substantially higher than in the United States.

At 11:33 a.m. Eastern, in the first of two questions on the subject, Reid turned to MSNBC medical contributor Doctor Nahid Bhadella and posed:

JOY REID: Most of the world -- as the world is trying to grapple with this collectively -- has a health system that is universal -- that at least it's much closer to universal than what we have. Is that one of the reasons that you're seeing the outbreak numbers so much lower in other countries? Because they're also -- if people are contracting it as well, but is access to health care that's a lot easier in other countries helping them to grapple with this better than we are?

As she began her response, Doctor Bhadella voiced agreement with the show's host:

Dr. NAHID BHADELLA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Joy. I think that some of the basic determinants of how outbreaks turn out is the strength of the public health system and the unity of the health care system itself. If you -- at the terminal end of all surveillance for infectious diseases are communities potentially who don't have access to care -- who don't -- they're not connected to the ability of the public health care system to detect when there is a cluster of disease in those communities. ...

Reid then went to her other guest, MSNBC contributor Doctor Joseph Fair and claimed Europe is handling the pandemic better than the U.S.:

REID: And, Dr. (Joseph) Fair, last to you because you dealt with this in dealing with the Ebola outbreak. How much better off would we be if Donald Trump was not taking this adversarial attitude towards the WHO and toward our former allies -- countries in Europe that are dealing with this in real time and are actually, quite frankly, having better outcomes than we are?

But, as previously documented by NewsBusters, Italy, France, Britain, Spain and Belgium have per capita death rates for confirmed COVID-19 cases that are a lot higher than the U.S. Germany is the only one of the larger developed countries in Europe that can brag about having a substantially lower death rate than the U.S.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, April 26, AM Joy on MSNBC:

JOY REID: Most of the world -- as the world is trying to grapple with this collectively -- has a health system that is universal -- that at least it's much closer to universal than what we have. Is that one of the reasons that you're seeing the outbreak numbers so much lower in other countries? Because they're also -- if people are contracting it as well, but is access to health care that's a lot easier in other countries helping them to grapple with this better than we are?

Dr. NAHID BHADELLA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Joy. I think that some of the basic determinants of how outbreaks turn out is the strength of the public health system and the unity of the health care system itself. If you -- at the terminal end of all surveillance for infectious diseases are communities potentially who don't have access to care -- who don't -- they're not connected to the ability of the public health care system to detect when there is a cluster of disease in those communities. ...

REID: And, Dr. (Joseph) Fair, last to you because you dealt with this in dealing with the Ebola outbreak. How much better off would we be if Donald Trump was not taking this adversarial attitude towards the WHO and toward our former allies -- countries in Europe that are dealing with this in real time and are actually, quite frankly, having better outcomes than we are?

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