Sept. 9, 2020 — President Donald Trump knew in early February, sooner than the primary identified U.S. demise from COVID-19, that the new coronavirus may well be transmitted during the air and was once deadlier than the seasonal flu.
“You simply breathe the air and that’s the way it’s handed,” he mentioned in a Feb. 7 name with journalist Bob Woodward. “And in order that’s an excessively difficult one. That’s an excessively subtle one. It’s additionally extra fatal than even your strenuous flus.”
“This is fatal stuff,” he mentioned.
At the time, Trump was once telling Americans that the U.S. was once in little risk and that the outbreak would quickly pass away by itself.
Asked about the ones statements in March, Trump mentioned he sought after to downplay the danger. “I sought after to all the time play it down,” Trump informed Woodward. “I nonetheless like enjoying it down, as a result of I do not need to create a panic.”
In the similar interview, he went on to recognize the gravity of the danger going through even younger adults. “Just these days and the previous day, some startling information got here out. It’s now not simply previous, older. Young other folks too, various younger other folks,” Trump mentioned.
These admissions by way of the president are a part of collection of 18 taped, on-the-record interviews with Woodward, who rose to repute for his function in exposing the Watergate scandal. Portions of the ones tapes aired these days on CNN and at the website of The Washington Post. In addition to the tapes, the inside track shops additionally won advance copies of Woodward’s new e-book concerning the president, Rage, which can hit retailer cabinets subsequent week.
In a CNN report at the interview, Woodward says he anticipated the president to speak about impeachment, since he had simply been acquitted by way of the Senate. Woodward says he was once stunned when Trump’s center of attention was once at the virus.
The U.S. bears the bleak difference of main the arena in COVID-19 instances and deaths. So a ways, the coronavirus has inflamed 6.three million Americans and killed greater than 190,000. Compared to different rich countries, the U.S. has fared poorly, suffering to get a hold of techniques to comprise the virus.
The financial system crashed within the wake of the nationwide reaction, leaving greater than 14 million Americans without jobs and pushing the unemployment price to a prime of 14%, one of the vital worst recorded within the fashionable technology.
In a information convention from the White House in a while after the tapes have been launched, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defined that president’s remarks this manner: “At a time while you’re going through insurmountable demanding situations, it’s vital to specific calm.” When pressed by way of a reporter, she denied that the president had misled Americans concerning the danger from the virus. “This president does what leaders do. Good leaders. It’s keep calm and resolute while you face an insurmountable problem.”
According to fact-checking by way of The Washington Post, the president mentioned that the virus will pass away by itself 31 instances within the first three months of the 12 months.
William Hanage, PhD, an epidemiologist within the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the president’s need to not reason panic is comprehensible and a core guiding principle of public well being. But he says Trump went about it the unsuitable manner.
“It was once now not sudden that he knew. What is sudden is that relatively than get able and get ready other folks for the disaster forward, he attempted to disclaim it,” he says.