Thursday, February 16, 2017

The president just elevated a dangerous anti-vaxxer talking point

Laurel Raymond
General Reporter at ThinkProgress. Contact me:

“So what’s going on with autism?”

President Trump pushed an anti-vaxxer talking point while meeting with educators at the White House on Tuesday.

“Have you seen a big increase in the autism with the children?” Trump asked Jane Quenneville, the principle of a Virginia public school that specializes in special education. Quenneville responded that she had.

Trump continued: “So what’s going on with autism? When you look at the tremendous increase, it’s really such an incredible?—?it’s really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase. Do you have any idea?”

When Quenneville cited the statistics on autism?—?putting them at one in 66 or one in 68 children being diagnosed?—?Trump implied these numbers were optimistic, suggesting the actual rate was higher.

“Well, maybe we can do something,” Trump said.

There’s no credible evidence that this is the case. The most recent data from the CDC, released last March, shows that one in 68 school-aged children are diagnosed with autism. That rate is unchanged from the previous year.

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