FDA Chief Won’t Refute Trump’s Claim That 99% Of Coronavirus Cases Are ‘Harmless’

Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wears a protective covering during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on Jun... Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wears a protective covering during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30, 2020. - Fauci and other government health officials updated the Senate on how to safely get back to school and the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Al Drago / various sources / AFP) (Photo by AL DRAGO/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn on Sunday wouldn’t push back on President Trump’s baseless claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” during a Fourth of July event at the White House South Lawn.

On Saturday, the President said, without evidence, that due to testing almost 40 million people for the coronavirus, “we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.”

When CNN’s Dana Bash pressed Hahn on Trump’s comment the following morning, Hahn acknowledge the surging coronavirus cases in the country, but said that “it’s too early” and won’t “speculate on what the causation is there.”

After Hahn said that “the way out of this” is for all Americans is to follow the CDC and the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s guidelines, Bash circled back to the question of how Hahn feels about Trump’s baseless claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” as a member of the task force.

“I totally support the CDC and the information that they’re putting out with respect to this pandemic. I think it’s, again, really important,” Hahn said. “The guidelines that we’ve emphasized, the data that we have — again, it’s a rapidly evolving situation and we’re going to have more data. But we absolutely must take this seriously. We must institute these public health measures. We cannot back off from those. It’s a critically important for Americans to follow those guidelines and to protect the most vulnerable.”

Pressed again on Trump’s false claim, Hahn responded that he’s “not going to get into who is right and who is wrong.”

“What I’m going to say, Dana, is what I’ve said before: it’s a serious problem that we have,” Hahn said. “We’ve seen the surge in cases. We must do something to stem the tide, and we have this in our power to do this by following the guidance from the task force and the CDC.”

When Bash asked Hahn why he won’t say whether Trump’s claim was true or false, Hahn said that the White House Coronavirus Task Force has data showing “this is a serious problem” that “people need to take it seriously.”

Watch Hahn’s remarks below:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: