Texas Mayors Hit Back At Trump’s Claim That 99% Of COVID-19 Cases Are ‘Harmless’

HOUSTON, TEXAS - November 1, 2017: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at Houston City Hall. (Photo by Ilana Panich-Linsman for The Washington Post)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - November 1, 2017: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at Houston City Hall. (Photo by Ilana Panich-Linsman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The mayors of two Texas metropolitan areas on Sunday expressed their dismay with President Trump’s false claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.”

Texas is currently considered a coronavirus hotspot, along with Florida and Texas, as it recently recorded six straight days of confirmed new cases above 5,000. The Lone Star state reported a record daily increase of 8,258 coronavirus cases and 7,890 hospitalizations on Saturday.

On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a statewide rule requiring masks to be worn in public, marking a whiplash-inducing reversal after he long resisted taking the firm measures that other COVID-ravaged states adopted in light of surges in coronavirus cases.

During a Fourth of July event at the White House South Lawn on Saturday, the President claimed, without evidence, that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” thanks to testing almost 40 million people for the viral disease.

When pressed on Trump’s baseless claim the day before, the mayors of Houston and Austin highly disagreed with the President’s assertion.

Here’s what the Texas mayors had to say:

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

When asked whether the President’s baseless claim that 99% of COVID-19 cases are “totally harmless” holds up in Houston, Turner told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan that “no, that’s not the case.”

“I will tell you, a month ago one in 10 people were testing positive. Today, it’s one in four,” Turner said. “The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased. The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased.”

Turner added that “if we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly,” Houston’s hospital system could be “in serious trouble” in about two weeks.

Watch Turner’s remarks below:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler

Pressed on Trump’s false claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “completely harmless” during an interview on CNN, Adler said that the President’s remark “makes me angry” and that it’s “dangerous not to be sending a clear message to Americans.”

“We have the July 4 weekend, and we need everybody wearing masks,” Adler said. “And when they start hearing that kind of ambiguous message coming out of Washington, there are more and more people that won’t wear masks, that won’t social distance, that won’t do what it takes to keep a community safe.”

Adler argued that the President’s messaging is “wrong” and “dangerous.”

“I just have to hope that people aren’t going to listen to that, and they will stay focused on what they’re hearing here more locally,” Adler said, before adding that Austin is “standing ready” for another stay-at-home order due to being on a trajectory showing that intensive care units could be inundated within the next week.

Watch Adler’s remarks below:

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