Fact-checking Trump and Biden during 2nd presidential debate

Fact-checking Trump and Biden during 2nd presidential debate

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The two candidates faced off in Nashville, Tennessee.

October 23, 2020, 1:44 AM

• 4 min read

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President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden face off in the second -- and final -- presidential debate of 2020 Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

The planned topics include fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.

Below, ABC News will fact check what both candidates say throughout the 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

Please refresh this page for updates.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Oct. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Oct. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.

Trump misleads when comparing COVID-19 pandemic to H1N1, Obama administration response

TRUMP'S CLAIM: "Frankly, [Biden] ran the H1N1, swine flu, and it was a total disaster, far less lethal, but it was a total disaster. Had that had this kind of numbers, 700,000 people would be dead right now."

FACT CHECK: While Trump is correct that the H1N1 virus was much less lethal than COVID-19, it is misleading to call the Obama administration's response a "failure."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates up to 575,000 lives were lost to the swine flu worldwide. Of those, fewer than 13,000 were American, due in part to the Obama administration's "complex, multi-faceted and long-term response," the CDC later wrote. Thus far, COVID-19 has taken the lives of over 210,000 Americans, a little over eight months since the first known case of the virus was discovered in the United States.

"The team, in my opinion, in 2009, really demonstrated that the planning was worth it. Nothing is ever perfect. But I felt just so impressed and so proud of the job CDC did in 2009," Dr. Julie Gerberding, a CDC director during the George W. Bush administration, told ABC News.

--John Verhovek

Biden incorrectly attributes mask warning to Trump advisers

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during the second 2020 presidential campaign debate with President Donald Trump at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 22, 2020.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during the second 2020 presidential campaign debate with President Donald Trump at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 22, 2020.

BIDEN'S CLAIM: "The expectation is we'll have another 200,000 Americans dead in the time between now and the end of the year. If we just wore these masks, the president's own advisers have told him, we could save 100,000 lives."

FACT CHECK: The president's advisers haven't used this estimate, though the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly recommended wearing them. A modeling study by the University of Washington estimated at one point that if most Americans wore masks, it could save 100,000 lives by the end of the year. That estimate has been repeated by Tom Frieden, who led the CDC under President Barack Obama.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the current head of the CDC under Trump, has not made such a statement.

According to his office, he has said that the pandemic could begin to come under control in eight to 12 weeks "if all people living in America wore a face mask, were smart about social distancing and crowds, and practiced good hand hygiene."

--Anne Flaherty

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