Trump Tries To Downplay Coronavirus Death Rate, Claims Virus Is ‘Not That Severe’

on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump shrugs while speaking in the Oval Office on December 11, 2018. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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March 5, 2020 8:22 a.m.

President Donald Trump wants America to believe that COVID-19 really isn’t that big a deal.

During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, Trump cast doubt on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimated 3.4% global death rate of reported COVID-19 cases.

“I think the 3.4% is really a false number,” he told Hannity. “Now this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild.”

“They’ll get better very rapidly, they don’t even see a doctor, they don’t even call a doctor, you never hear about those people,” he continued. “So you can’t put them down in the category, the overall population in terms of this corona flu, or virus.”

Trump then claimed there are “thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by sitting around and even going to work” and that “some of them go to work, but they get better.”

He went on to argue that the real death toll was much lower than the WHO’s estimate.

“I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1%,” he told Hannity.

“A lot of people don’t report because they get the coronavirus and they get better relatively quickly, not that severe,” Trump said later.

Tedros Adhanom, the director-general of the WHO, had given the figure during a press briefing on Tuesday.

“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” Adhanom told reporters. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.”

As TPM’s Josh Marshall points out, the word “reported” is key. The total number of cases are likely higher.

On Thursday morning, Trump shrieked via Twitter that he “NEVER” said people who feel sick still ought to go work, despite indeed having told Hannity the night before that many of those who have coronavirus “get better” by “going to work.”

“This is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats, in particular MSDNC,” he wrote. “Comcast covers the CoronaVirus situation horribly, only looking to do harm to the incredible & successful effort being made!”

Watch Trump below:

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