CNBC’s Joe Kernen lies about mortality rate of COVID-19 in the United States

This morning, CNBC Squawk Box hosts Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen got into a screaming match over the markets, COVID-19, and President Donald Trump; Sorkin at one point told Kernen (a longtime Trump friend) that he had “used and abused” his position on the show to defend Trump.

In response, Kernen lied about the mortality rate of COVID-19.

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Citation From the May 27, 2020, edition of CNBC's Squawk Box

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN (CO-ANCHOR): I'm not going to do this with you, Joe. Every morning, every morning you try to question the questions I'm asking. These are questions that investors are asking every single morning. I'm just trying to get through some of this clutter. I may be right, I may be wrong. Investors may be right, they may be wrong. That's what makes a market. But it doesn't make people a good person or a bad person. It doesn't make it right to act the way you are.


JOE KERNEN (CO-ANCHOR): You panicked about the market, panicked about COVID, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about the PPE, panicked about ever going out again, panicked that we would ever get back to normal.


SORKIN: And you -- Joseph, Joseph, you didn’t panic about anything

KERNEN: What good is that? What good is it? Why not help people keep their head?

SORKIN: Joseph, one hundred thousand people died.

KERNEN: I understand that.

SORKIN: A hundred thousand people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend, the president. That's what you did. Every single morning on this show. Every single morning on this show. You used and abused your position, Joe. You used and abused your decision.


KERNEN: It had nothing to do -- that's totally unfair. I'm trying to help investors keep their cool, keep their heads.


KERNEN: It's a global pandemic, Andy. It's a global pandemic, Andy, where per capita deaths -- we're down near the low end of per capita deaths. We're nowhere near, per 100,000 -- most places are at 60 deaths per 100,000. We're at 29. So it's terrible that we've lost a hundred thousand lives, it's terrible, but it was never going to be that we weren't going to come back.

Kernen claimed that the mortality rate in the United States due to COVID-19 was on the low end of what countries around the world are experiencing. That’s just wrong.

The Johns Hopkins COVID tracker breaks out cases and mortality by country. As of this morning, only 10 countries have a higher percentage of deaths per 100,000 people than the U.S.: San Marino, Belgium, Andorra, Spain, the U.K., Italy, France, Sweden, Netherlands, and Ireland. There are at least 138 countries with a lower documented rate.

Even if you take into account that some countries may not be forthcoming with accurate data or that other countries’ rates may rise higher in the long run, there’s simply no way to say that the United States is well ahead of others at the moment by this metric.

h/t Craigipedia