Trump Turns Back to Downplaying Severity of Crisis
March 25, 2020
Faced with the fallout from his failed coronavirus response, Trump has turned back to dangerously downplaying the severity of this crisis.
Trump continues to downplay coronavirus by misleadingly comparing it to the seasonal flu and car accidents.
TRUMP: “We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn’t call up the automobile companies and say, ‘Stop making cars. We don’t want any cars anymore.’”
Associated Press: “THE FACTS: He’s making a bad comparison. The new coronavirus is not the same as the annual flu, because it’s a disease that hadn’t been seen before in humans. … It can spread unchecked, except by measures such as social distancing.”
Washington Post: “Where the coronavirus-to-car analogy really breaks down, though, is that it ignores one of the immediate threats posed by the virus. When we talk about 40,000 deaths in car accidents, we’re talking about that happening nationally over the course of a year. When we talk about the deaths from covid-19, we’re talking so far about a spike in deaths in certain regions over a short period of time. … The sheer scale of the problem means that people will die waiting for a bed or waiting to be triaged.”
Despite being corrected by health officials, Trump won’t stop claiming that the mortality rate for coronavirus isn’t high and similar to seasonal flu.
TRUMP: “I think we’re substantially under 1 percent because the people that get better are not reporting. … When you add all of the people — the millions of people that have it, that get better, we’re substantially less than 1 percent. And when they came to my office — don’t forget, they were saying 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent — this is a very big difference.”
Washington Post: “Fauci warned Wednesday against assuming it’s too similar. ‘I mean, people always say, well, the flu does this, the flu does that,’ Fauci said. ‘The flu has a mortality of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that.’ … Fauci added that a 1 percent mortality rate was on the low end of assumptions, if you grant that many people contract the coronavirus and are never formally logged as having it.”