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US 2020:- Trump and Biden's debate claims fact-checked

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US 2020 election

President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have gone head-to-head in the first of three televised debates before the US election in November.

The nominees clashed over everything from the state of the economy to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Reality Check has unpicked some of their claims. 

Trump: "We built the greatest economy in history".

President Trump claimed that, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, "we built the greatest economy in US history". 

He claims to have generated historic economic growth, record low unemployment, and lifted millions of Americans out of poverty. 

It's true the economy was doing well before the pandemic - continuing a trend that began during the Obama administration - but there have been periods when it was much stronger. 

Verdict: That's not right - there have been times in US history when the economy was stronger. 

Biden: "We have 4% of the world's population, [but] 20% of the deaths".

Mr Biden criticised President Trump's management of the coronavirus response. 

"We in fact have 4% of the world's population, 20% of the deaths," the former vice-president said. 

According to the figures, that's about right. The US population is about 328 million, which is just over 4% of the 7.7 billion global population. 

Verdict: This is roughly correct. But looking at coronavirus deaths per capita, there are a number of countries which are worse than the US. 

Trump: Postal ballots increase will cause "a fraud like you've never seen".

President Trump said an increase in postal ballots is going to cause "a fraud like you've never seen". 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large proportion of US voters are expected to use postal voting in this year's election. 

The president has repeatedly warned that this will lead to widespread fraud. There have been isolated cases of fraud including recent examples in North Carolina and New Jersey. 

In September, the US Department of Justice released a statement about an incident in Pennsylvania in which "nine military ballots were discarded" and said seven of them "were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump". 

But despite such incidents, numerous studies have not revealed evidence of major, widespread fraud. 

The rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%, according to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Verdict: Studies have not found evidence of widespread fraud, although there have been isolated cases. 

Biden: "100 million people [in the US] have pre-existing conditions".

The candidates clashed over how many people in the US have pre-existing medical conditions, which can stop some Americans from being covered by private medical insurers. 

Mr Biden said there were 100 million people w ith pre-existing conditions, but President Trump said that number was "totally wrong". 

So how many are there? There is no definitive answer. 

According to the US government's Department of Health and Human Services, between 50 and 129 million non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition. 

Other organisations have different estimates. The Center for American Progress believes it is higher, at 135 million people under age 65. 

Verdict: There is no definitive answer to this. 

Biden: "Manufacturing went into a hole" before coronavirus.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden suggested that even before Covid-19, "manufacturing went into a hole". 

The pandemic did have an impact on this sector. As of August, there were 237,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in the US than when Trump took office in 2017.

Verdict: That's not right, according to the figures. 

Trump: "We're weeks away from a vaccine" 

President Trump said in the debate that the US is only "weeks" from a vaccine. 

However, Dr Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to the US vaccine programme, has said there is only a small chance an approved vaccine could be ready by the end of October. 

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, has predicted the US will know if it has a safe and effective jab by November or December this year. He told a Senate committee hearing this month there might be enough doses for every American by April.

Verdict: There is a ''very, very low chance'' of an approved vaccine being ready by the end of October, the chief scientific adviser to the US vaccine programme says. 


This is according to BBC
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