No longer hospitalized over a virus he spent months purposefully downplaying to the public, President Donald Trump has been eager to falsely portray COVID-19 as No. Big. Deal.
First, he irresponsibly told the country “Don’t be afraid of COVID” on Monday shortly before leaving Walter Reed Medical Center, where doctors reported that his oxygen blood levels dropped twice in recent days.
Now, Trump’s claiming to feel like a million bucks despite still being infected with the virus and his own doctor’s remark that the President isn’t “out of the woods.”
“FEELING GREAT!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.
Part of the President’s frantic PR cleanup also involves regurgitating the same comparison between COVID-19 and the flu that he endlessly pushed back when the pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020.
“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
In no meaningful sense has the U.S. “learned to live with” COVID-19, given that more than 210,000 Americans have died, the case count continues to grow, and millions are still struggling with unemployment caused by the pandemic.
Additionally, Trump himself privately admitted to reporter Bob Woodward in February that the virus was “more deadly” than the flu.
Multiple epidemiologists and health professionals called out Trump’s dangerously rosy messaging:
This is a lie, and a lie that will get people killed. The last time 100,000+ Americans passed away due to influenza virus was (likely) in 1968.
We're already twice that with COVID-19. And we're going into the fall with 40,000+ new cases each day. https://t.co/9O9Q4QlmCA
— Ryan McNamara 🧬 (@Ryan_Mac_Phd) October 6, 2020
I followed all public health guidance and infected no one.
You’ve unnecessarily exposed numerous people over the last few days, your administration is refusing to do contact tracing, and there’s an outbreak in the White House because of your dangerous disregard of public health. https://t.co/XQu14wSdIj
— Craig Spencer MD MPH (@Craig_A_Spencer) October 6, 2020
The idea that seasonal influenza is as deadly as COVID and it just slipped our notice is, of course, absurd.
— Esther Choo, MD MPH (@choo_ek) October 6, 2020
— Dr. Anne Rimoin (@arimoin) October 6, 2020
— Steffanie Strathdee, PhD 😷Superbug Slayer 🗡️ (@chngin_the_wrld) October 6, 2020
There are many things concerning about the #Trump #COVID19 situation-for me as a physician-scientist most disheartening is that he received therapy no one else on the world has received then goes out & says #COVID19 is no big deal.
The politicization of #coronavirus has to stop
— Dr.Krutika Kuppalli (@KrutikaKuppalli) October 6, 2020
This frustrates angers and saddens me beyond belief
A man literally benefitting right now from potentially lifesaving treatment that essentially no human has access to & treated with intense medicines -> telling the world NOT to take this virus seriouslyhttps://t.co/tQrWPTnk3p
— Michael Mina (@michaelmina_lab) October 6, 2020
Don’t be afraid of Covid? Not every American has access to the top therapeutics and doctors with the most advanced equipment available to the President of the United States. You feel better than you did 20 years ago? That’s because of your dexamethasone high that resembles mania.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) October 5, 2020