PolitiFact VA: Yes, COVID-19 Is a Pandemic
Speaker: Bob Good
Statement: “This is a phony pandemic.”
Date: Dec. 12
Virginia Rep.-elect Bob Good got cheers at a rally for President Donald Trump when he told the crowd the novel coronavirus pandemic is a farce.
“This looks like a group of people that gets this is a phony pandemic,” Good, R-5th Congressional District, said Dec. 12 at a Women for America First rally in Washington. “It’s a serious virus, but it’s a virus; it’s not a pandemic.”
COVID-19 is not a pandemic? Let’s check.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines pandemic as “an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affects a significant proportion of the population: a pandemic outbreak of a disease.”
COVID-19 has struck all continents except Antarctica. As of Dec. 21, there have 77 million cases across the globe, and 1.7 million deaths. Does that qualify as affecting “a significant portion of the population,” as the definition requires? Merriam-Webster has no doubt; it cites COVID-19 as an example of a pandemic.
Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was appalled by Good’s statement.
"Of course it's a pandemic,” told CNN on Dec. 16. “There's a definition of a pandemic and that is a virus that is raging across the world, and this clearly is doing that. We have hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, we'll have millions of people around the world. This is not phony; this is not fake. It is serious."
Giroir said he’d be happy to provide Good with “technical assistance” to understand the pandemic.
We ran a quick search of 10 science and health authorities around the world and found each one describes COVID-19 as a pandemic. They are:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
- World Health Organization;
- American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC);
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration;
- JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association);
- National Institutes of Health;
- The World Bank;
- United Nations;
- BMJ (British Medical Journal); and
- Indian Journal of Medical Research.
Good, a self-described “biblical conservative,” is a former banker, wrestling coach and athletic fundraiser at Liberty University. More than 300 people have died of COVID-19 in the district he’ll represent, according to The Washington Post. We asked his spokesperson, Courtney Heath, for an explanation of Good’s statement, but didn’t hear back.
The day after his statement, Good posted a series of tweets deriding “government lockdowns and excessive restrictions'' enacted to contain the virus. He compared the risk of dying from COVID to that of dying in an automobile accident. He noted that 5% of Americans have contracted the virus, one-tenth of 1% have died from it, and vaccines will become increasingly available.
“We have got to stop the insanity, and stop accepting the hoax that says forcing people to wear a mask, forcing businesses to close, prohibiting worship services, and keeping kids out of school will make a significant difference in whether or not we will die from this virus,” he wrote.
Good said the novel coronavirus is a “phony pandemic”.
COVID-19 has spread through every continent except Antarctica, racking 77 million cases and 1.7 million deaths. Leading science and health organizations across the world classify COVID as a pandemic. Good, without clear explanation, says it’s not.
We rate Good’s statement Pants on Fire!
Bob Good, Comments at rally, Dec. 12, 2020 (3:16:07 mark).
Good, Twitter, Dec. 13, 2020.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary, definition of pandemic, accessed Dec. 17, 2020.
USA Today, “These are the covid-free places on earth: Antarctica and five islands in the South Pacific,” Nov. 12, 2020.
Johns Hopkins University, COVID-19 Dashboard,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020
Adm. Brett Giroir, CNN interview, Dec. 16, 2020.
The Washington Post, “Rep.-elect Bob Good calls the pandemic ‘phony,’” Dec. 14, 2020.
Text from Courtney Heath, spokesperson for Good, Dec. 19, 2020.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Things to Know about the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Dec. 17, 2020.
World Health Organization, “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020.
AJMC, “A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020,” Nov. 25, 2020.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020.
JAMA, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and the JAMA Network,” Sept. 22/29, 2020.
National Institute of Health, “Review Process during COVID-19 Pandemic,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020.
The World Bank, “The World Bank Group’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020.
United Nations, “COVID-19 Response,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020.
BMJ, “Covid-19: politicisation, ‘corruption,” and suppression of science,’” Nov. 13, 2020.
Indian Journal of Medical Research, “The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: A review of the current evidence,” accessed Dec. 17, 2020.