If you think conducting daily press briefings on the coronavirus is easy for a lay politician, think again. But if you want proof, don’t look to Donald Trump, who despite the media’s efforts to paint him as a boob, has done a creditable job.
Look instead to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is a novice at the game. Judging from his remarks at a presser he gave last Friday, he is also a novice to fifth-grade math and reading comprehension.
For his presentation, the governor brought along visual aids — mostly line graphs. One of these appears below.
This is a chart of our daily cases and our cumulative cases. As you can see, the daily case number is rising, that’s the blue graph on the top, but not drastically and that is good news. We hope that soon we’ll see that line go down and not up. The bottom line, the orange line, is our daily cases and as you can see it fluctuates a bit but it is remaining fairly flat and we would certainly like to see that diminishing over the next days to weeks. (A video of this portion of the presentation can be found here.)
Notice any problem? For starters, he incorrectly identifies the blue line as “daily cases,” despite the clear indication on the legend that it is cumulative cases.
But that’s not the half of it. In the third sentence of the paragraph he says, “We hope that soon we’ll see that line go down and not up.” But how exactly does Northam imagine that the number of cumulative cases will decrease?
Is it a minor point? Sure. But if the president had said it, the media would be all over it.
(h/t Tim Young)