The Coronavirus is continuing to spread in the United States — more than 400 people have been documented as infected and some 19 people have died in the country from the disease. Yet, this weekend on ABC’s This Week, it was unclear at best what if any substantive information for the American people that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson really had. He offered a whole lot of words and barely any meaning, dismissing the unique significance of the brand new illness which has infected and killed many thousands of people around the world and which few if any have any real immunity to.
At first, host George Stephanopoulos asked for Carson’s thoughts about the potential scope of the disease, which some have suggested could end up infecting very large portions of the American population. Carson did not immediately actually answer the question. Instead, he began:
‘There is no question that we should be informed about how we should manage our own lives. It’s very important for people to understand that this virus is like other viruses, should be treated the same way — so we have flu seasons that come up frequently, and there are certain precautions that you take during that time to make sure that you don’t contract the virus.’
What? The Coronavirus is a virus, yes, and the flu is also a virus, but the two are not the same — even though Trump himself called the illness the “Corona flu” during a particularly misinformation-filled interview that he did with Fox News’s Sean Hannity. In reality, although overall most of those infected with the Coronavirus have recovered, its fatality rate has been significantly higher than that of the ordinary flu.
Trump to Hannity on WHO saying coronavirus death rate is 3.4%: "I think the 3.4% number is really a false number. Now this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations … personally, I'd say the number is way under 1%."
Astoundingly irresponsible. pic.twitter.com/uC9c03zX31
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 5, 2020
Carson continued with just general observations about the situation, explaining:
‘Bear in mind that there’s a certain segment of our society that’s particularly vulnerable. Those would include people who have underlying medical conditions and elderly — and particularly elderly who have underlying medical conditions… t’s very important for people to understand that the vast majority of the people who contract the virus are only going to have flu-like symptoms or less… So there’s a little bit of exaggeration in terms of what happens if you contract it.’
There they go with the claims about fake news again.
Stephanopoulos pressed Carson to actually answer his question about his perspective on the potential scope of the disease spread in the U.S., and the official insisted:
‘The thing that needs to be understood is that we are working very hard, looking at all the evidence on a day-by-day basis, making recommendations based on that, and we need to be working together — federal, state, and local health officials, and the medical professionals.’
Housing and Urban Development Sec. Ben Carson tells @GStephanopoulos he believes it's possible that "it's possible for large numbers of people" could be infected by COVID-19.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 8, 2020
Trump’s not exactly joining in on that work.
He’s even called fears and negative coverage of the situation a “hoax,” besides actively undercutting health professionals’ work with claims like his insistence that he had a “hunch” that the World Health Organization was wrong about the virus’s fatality rate. There’s nothing suggesting that Trump is actually correct.