Report: Trump Downplayed COVID Threat

sept. 9, 2020 — president donald trump knew in early feb, b4 the 1st known u.s. death from covid-19, that the new coronavirus ‘d be transmitted through the air and was deadlier than the seasonal flu.

“you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” he said in a feb. 7 call with journalist bob woodward. “and so that’s a very tricky one. that’s a very delicate one. it’s also + deadly than even yr strenuous flus.”

“this is deadly stuff,” he said.

atta time, trump was telling americans that the u.s. was in lil danger and that the outbreak ‘d soon go away on its own.

asked bout those statements in mar, trump said he wanted to downplay the threat. “i wanted to always play it down,” trump told woodward. “i still like playing it down, cause i don’t wanna create a panic.”

inna same interview, he went onna ack the gravity of the threat facing even young adults. “just tody and yesterdy, some startling facts came out. it’s not just old, older. young pplz too, plenty of young pplz,” trump said.

these admissions by the president are pt of series of 18 taped, on-the-record interviews with woodward, who rose to fame for his role in exposing the watagate scandal. portions of those tapes aired tody on cnn and onna website of the  washington post. in addition to the tapes, the news outlets also received advance copies of woodward’s new book bout the president, rage, which will hit store shelves nxt week.

in a cnn reprt onna interview, woodward says he expected the president to talk bout impeachment, since he had just been acquitted by the senate. woodward says he was surprised when trump’s focus was onna virus.

the u.s. bears the grim distinction of leading the realm in covid-19 cases and deaths. sfar, the coronavirus has infected 6.3 million americans and killed + than 190,000. compared to other wealthy nations, the u.s. has fared poorly, struggling to come up with wys'2 contain the virus.

the economy crashed inna wake of the national response, leaving + than 14 million americans without jobs and pushing the unemployment rate to a high of 14%, 1-odda worst recorded inna modern era.

in a news conference from the white house shortly after the tapes were released, press secretary kayleigh mcenany explained that president’s remarks this way: “at a time when you’re facing insurmountable challenges, it’s primordial to express calm.” when pressed by a reprter, she denied that the president had misled americans bout the threat from the virus. “this president does wha’ leaders do. good leaders. it’s stay calm and resolute when you face an insurmountable challenge.”

according to fact-checking by the washington post, the president said that the virus will go away on its own 31 times inna 1st 3 mnths of the yr.

william hanage, phd, an epidemiologist inna center for communicable disease dynamics at harvard’s t.h. chan school of public health, says the president’s desire not to cause panic is coggable and a core tenet of public health. but he says trump went bout it the wrong way.

“twas not surprising that he knew. wha’ is surprising s'dat rather than get ready and prepare pplz for the crisis ahead, he tried to deny it,” he says.

© 2020 webmd, llc. all rites reserved.

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