Biden’s State Of The Union Speech Flies Through Fact Check Unscathed

According to an article in Nordot, professional fact-checkers agree that Americans were treated to something they haven’t seen in years, a lengthy speech by the United States President in which every assertion seems to have solid factual backing, even if the administration did a little picking and choosing as to which studies it relied upon.

It is best to admit upfront that much of the speech covered the current situation in Ukraine and the threat to democracy all over the world. It is not hard to be accurate when one is speaking in platitudes, however sincere, regarding the importance of protecting democracy and especially our commitment to Ukraine.

But even in the more technical, policy-based, portion of the speech in which Biden talked about his administration’s first-year successes, he hit the mark as truthful.

Here is one example:

“Under the new guidelines, most Americans and most of the country can now go mask-free. And based on projections, more of the country will this point in the next couple of weeks.”

This is accurate. Under updated guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Feb. 25, about 70% of Americans live in communities with low to medium risk from covid and will be allowed to go out in public and indoor spaces maskless.

The agency considers counties to be at high risk if they are recording 200 or more new infections for every 100,000 people, or if 10% or more of hospital beds have been occupied by covid patients within the previous seven days. An area is also deemed at high risk if 10 or more people for every 100,000 residents are being admitted to hospitals for the disease.

One more example:

“75% of adult Americans are fully vaccinated, and hospitalizations are down by 77%. Most Americans can remove their masks and stay in the classroom and move forward safely.”

This is a largely accurate description of official numbers and guidance. According to the CDC, as of March 1, 75% of Americans 18 or older are fully vaccinated, or 193,643,363 people.

It was unclear what the starting point was for Biden’s claim that covid-related hospitalizations are down by 77%, but about 60,000 people with the coronavirus are hospitalized nationally, down from about 160,000 in January, according to New York Times data. This translates to a 62.5% drop.

Biden also spoke accurately about the American Rescue Plan and what it would do for most adults, subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, among other policy-based assertions.

In other words, President Biden set a high bar regarding truthfulness in the most important (and longest) annual address to the American people. Just another change from the last term, one that we should take time to notice and appreciate.