Recently, President Donald Trump claimed that 99 percent of Coronavirus cases are “totally harmless,” which is flatly incorrect. Although it’s true that many people who contract the disease survive, these same survivors frequently need hospitalization, and the long-term physical effects of the illness are only beginning to come into focus. In an interview with Financial Times published this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health explained that Trump’s claim that 99 percent of cases are “harmless” is “obviously not” correct. Wouldn’t it be great if the president didn’t push obvious falsehoods amidst a deadly pandemic?
As Fauci put it, discussing the president’s claim that 99 percent of cases are harmless:
‘I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number. What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.’
It’s important to note — that 1 percent mortality rate is, in fact, “general.” Across the U.S. as a whole, the mortality rate currently sits at about 4 percent overall, meaning that about 4 percent of the confirmed cases have ended in death. As of Friday morning, the U.S. had reported over 3.2 million cases and about 135,000 deaths, according to one count. In some areas of the country, the mortality rate is significantly higher than the national level. In New York, for instance, about 7.6 percent of the confirmed Coronavirus cases have ended in death. As of Friday morning, the state had reported over 425,000 cases and over 32,000 deaths.
Nowhere in any of the data is there any support for Trump’s claim that 99 percent of Coronavirus cases are harmless. In fact, the hospitals around the country that are currently struggling with very high levels of need are real world, real time evidence of how brazenly wrong that the president is. Trump’s endlessly self-serving quest to see everything in a way that makes himself look as good as possible is costing American lives, because he can use his nonsensical claims about the Coronavirus as excuses not to take the situation seriously.