Sometimes it’s a simple brag — boasting about the highest State of the Union TV ratings in history, trumpeting that he appointed more judges than George Washington, inflating the number of electoral college votes he won in 2016.

But cherry-picked numbers are also central to how Trump comprehends a crisis and crafts a positive narrative. As the coronavirus raced around the globe and seized the world’s economy, he has cited numbers to suit his own story that the pandemic would quickly pass and that his administration was in control…

Public health specialists say Trump’s use of misleading numbers to downplay the coronavirus outbreak — a challenge that could make-or-break his presidency — has had dangerous consequences, leading Americans to ignore official warnings about modifying behaviors to slow the disease’s spread.