This past Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump bumbled his way through a press conference at the White House about the Coronavirus and the U.S. government response to the spreading illness. During the talk with reporters, he put his gross ineptitude on full display through means like directly contradicting actual health officials from within his own administration, who’ve warned that a further spread within the U.S. seems inevitable. In one exchange with CNN health contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Trump claimed that the common flu is actually more deadly than the Coronavirus — but that’s simply not true, as Gupta pointed out in a live TV fact-check.
‘There are two things that really surprise me. One is that we’ve been talking about the fact that the flu does kill tens of thousands of people every year, and apparently he didn’t know that up until right before this briefing… but also, in the midst of our exchange, all of a sudden he said flu mortality rates are higher than Coronavirus. I don’t know why he said that, where he got that — it’s not true.’
Yet, the president made the claim anyway, and it’s one of the many means that he attempted to use as support for his idea that the Coronavirus isn’t actually a big deal — although it’s killed around 2,700 people around the world and counting and the first community transmitted case of the disease was reported in the U.S. just this week. In that case, the affected individual had no prolonged personal contact with someone who’d traveled overseas or had the virus — they got it from the community.
Gupta pointed out, comparing the high mortality rate of the Coronavirus to the flu:
‘If you have the same transmissibility, but one is twenty times more lethal, then it’s clear why public health officials are concerned about this, and I guess I was a little worried in an effort to sort of reassure people, I’m not sure the president understood that particular point.’
The Trump administration has backed up the president’s dismissal of the threat from the virus with a request for emergency funding that members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have derided as inadequate.