On Tuesday, at a press conference where not one scientist or medical expert was invited or allowed to speak, Donald Trump was forced to admit a few things he hasn’t wanted to admit before. The virus is serious. It’s not getting any better. Masks and socially distancing helps. Deaths due to the virus really are happening. It was a massive turnaround from recent statements he’s made.
NEW: During his first coronavirus briefing since April, President Trump says the COVID-19 pandemic “will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better — something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.” https://t.co/ZlaqfpWkdN pic.twitter.com/eJXlnG9tCx
— ABC News (@ABC) July 21, 2020
Don’t count Trump’s nonsense talk about the virus out yet, though. He also downplayed the virus in terms of schools reopening, saying that children are at a very low risk of death from the virus, and that 99.96 percent of children who contract the virus survive. That sounds reassuring until you run the actual numbers. It’s unlikely we’ll ever know the source of Trump’s statistic, but here’s what it would look like if it were true.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 53,980,105 children of school age in the United States. If only half of them contract the virus, which is an optimistic estimate once schools reopen, that’s 26,990,053 children with COVID-19. If Trump’s prediction that 99.96 percent of children survive, that leaves 0.04 percent of children dead (and a whole lot of others with potential long-term health consequences), that means 10,796 dead children. That is three September 11, 2001s if all the 9/11 victims were children.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he was not invited to the White House coronavirus briefing today and says the last time he spoke to President Trump was last week https://t.co/b3a787uR2n pic.twitter.com/8uUO72cYKP
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 21, 2020
Trump also promised that the economy would not be shut down again despite experts saying that even one month of a full shutdown, enforced mask wearing, and strict social distancing would end the virus in the United States. The president warned of the catastrophic economic consequences of shutdowns, and then became the only president in history to have bragged that he saved millions of lives in the middle of a pandemic that’s killed more than 140,000 Americans.
There is only one person in the briefing room at the start of the coronavirus briefing: Trump.
No Fauci. No Birx. No CDC director. No Surgeon General.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 21, 2020
Trump also downplayed the seriousness of the virus when he read the death toll, which he cast doubt over by saying that many who have died had pre-existing conditions. However, that is what scientists like Dr. Fauci, who no longer seems to be allowed to speak in an official capacity to the American people, said from the beginning. Those most vulnerable to dying of the virus will be people with underlying health conditions.
For the full briefing, see video below:
Featured image screenshot via YouTube