Washington – President Donald Trump continues to give his views, both optimistic and unfounded, on the science of coronavirus. It has been that way since before the virus spread widely throughout the United States, when it said it would disappear on the hot days of April, a perspective, experts say, not supported by research.
Now Trump talks about starting the economy for Easter on April 12, while his officials timidly downplay that perspective from the same rostrum in the White House. On Sunday, the president retracted his intention to “reopen” the country by that date, and points to a recovery in early June.
Here’s a look at Trump’s remarks during a week in which the death toll surpassed 2,500 and the United States ranked number one in infections worldwide since the start of the pandemic:RELATED
Light at the end of the tunnel
Trump: “There is tremendous hope looking forward and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel”: press conference last Tuesday.
The Facts: The United States has more than 150,000 confirmed cases, according to a Johns Hopkins University count based on reports from governments and health authorities. The figure exceeds that of Italy and China, where the virus was first detected.
Trump: “I would love to have the country open and ready to go on Easter”: Fox News virtual assembly last Tuesday.
Trump: “We have to open our country, sorry”: conference call with the governors last Tuesday.
The facts: The federal government has not declared national confinement, so it never closed the country, so it will not reopen it. Despite what public health experts say that the disease is highly contagious, Trump maintains that many people will soon be able to return to work while maintaining a healthy distance from others.
Current orders to restrict public meetings, mobility, store, school, and other openings have come from states and municipalities, not Washington. The federal government has imposed border controls, and federal measures to maintain healthy social distance are recommendations, not orders.
Regarding the return to normality, Anthony Fauci, an American doctor specializing in immunology and one of the leaders in the fight against HIV / AIDS in the United States, said on CNN on Wednesday that “one does not impose the deadlines: the virus imposes the terms ”.
Trump: “We have never closed the country before, and we have had some pretty bad flu, some pretty bad viruses.” Fox News virtual assembly last Tuesday.
The facts: It is a bad comparison. The new coronavirus is not like the annual flu because it is an unprecedented disease in humans. Human populations lack immunity to COVID-19, which can spread uncontrollably if measures such as healthy social distance are not applied.
Trump: “Over eight days, the United States applies more tests than South Korea (which has been very successful in this regard) in eight days. Great job!” Tweet on Wednesday.
The facts: The multiplication of tests in the United States is good news, but the comparison with South Korea is not very revealing, since its population is six times greater than that of the Asian country. By Friday, South Korea had tested 375,000 of its people and the United States 685,000 of its own, according to the most recent government report. In other words, according to its population, South Korea applies four times more tests than the United States.
Trump on the COVID-19 death rate: “I think it’s well under 1% because people don’t report”: Interview with Fox News on Thursday.
The Facts: No one knows the death rate. Fauci says it could be about 1%. If so, the disease would be 10 times more lethal than seasonal flu, whose death rate is around 0.1%. Fauci’s calculation includes unreported cases.
Trump: “I don’t think it will be such a serious stumbling block after all”: press conference on Wednesday.
The facts: In the best case scenario – if the pandemic passes relatively quickly and economic growth and jobs return without a prolonged decline – there will be severe economic damage. The $ 2.2 trillion rescue package, equivalent to half of the entire general budget, means record debt added to record debt before the crisis.
Trump: “Clinical trials will begin in New York … with existing drugs that may be effective against the virus. Hydroxychloroquine and Z-Pak, I think combined, they look very, very good. And I think – I hope – a lot of people will be very happy with the results. ” Press conference on Monday.
The Facts: For days, Trump overstated the prospect of a treatment or cure. This is an example. There is no approved treatment, cure, preventive medication, or vaccine for COVID-19, and public health authorities say that none is imminent.
Hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat malaria, is being investigated, but scientists say it is doubtful whether it will meet Trump’s expectations. Also, it is unclear whether the FDA has approved the two-drug combination called “Z-Pak.”