Trump denies minimising Covid threat: I ‘up-played’ it

Trump denies minimising Covid risk: I 'up-played' it

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In an interview, President Trump stated he minimised the virus’s severity to keep away from panic

US President Donald Trump has denied downplaying the seriousness of Covid-19, regardless of admitting in a recorded interview to having accomplished that.

At a televised occasion with voters, Mr Trump stated he had “up-played” it.

The declare contradicts feedback Mr Trump made to journalist Bob Woodward earlier this 12 months, when he stated he minimised the virus’s severity to keep away from panic.

Mr Trump additionally repeated on Tuesday {that a} vaccine could possibly be prepared “within weeks” regardless of scepticism from well being consultants.

No vaccine has but accomplished scientific trials, main some scientists to concern politics somewhat than well being and security is driving the push for a vaccine earlier than the three November presidential elections.

More than 195,000 folks have died with Covid-19 within the US because the starting of the pandemic, in response to knowledge collated by Johns Hopkins college.

Meanwhile, the journal Scientific American on Tuesday endorsed a presidential candidate for the primary time in its 175-year historical past, backing Democrat Joe Biden for the White House.

The journal stated Mr Trump “rejects evidence and science” and described his response to the coronavirus pandemic as “dishonest and inept”.

What did Trump say?

At Tuesday’s city corridor assembly held by ABC News in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr Trump was requested why he would “downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities”.

Mr Trump responded: “Yeah, well, I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action.”

“My action was very strong,” he stated, citing a ban imposed on folks travelling from China and Europe earlier this 12 months.

“We would have lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on. We saved a lot of lives when we did that,” Mr Trump stated.

The US ban on foreign travellers who were recently in China got here into power in early February, whereas a ban on travellers from European nations was introduced the following month.

But Mr Trump has been accused of being sluggish implementing measures to curtail the virus.

One epidemiologist informed the New York Times in February that curbing journey to and from China was more of an emotional or political reaction.

“The cow’s already out of the barn and we’re now talking about shutting the barn door,” Dr Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy on the University of Minnesota, informed the newspaper.

In its assertion on Tuesday, Scientific American stated regardless of warnings in January and February, Mr Trump “did not develop a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing or clear health guidelines.”

What did he inform Woodward?

Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal in 1972 and is likely one of the US’s most revered journalists, interviewed Mr Trump 18 instances from December to July.

In February, Mr Trump indicated in an interview with Woodward that he knew extra in regards to the severity of the sickness than he had stated publicly.

According to a recording of the decision, the president stated coronavirus was deadlier than the flu.

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Media captionHow Trump’s angle towards coronavirus shifted between March and April

“It goes through the air,” Mr Trump is heard saying on the tape. “That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed.

“And in order that’s a really difficult one. That’s a really delicate one.”

Later that month, Mr Trump said that the virus was “very a lot below management”, and that the case count would soon be close to zero. He also publicly implied the flu was more dangerous than Covid-19.

Speaking on Capitol Hill on 10 March, Mr Trump said: “Just keep calm. It will go away.”

Nine days later, after the White House declared the pandemic a national emergency, the president told Woodward: “I wished to at all times play it down. I nonetheless like taking part in it down, as a result of I do not wish to create a panic.”

What else did Trump say in Philadelphia?

Mr Trump, who is seeking re-election, repeated his earlier claim that the virus would disappear on its own because people would “develop… herd mentality”, likely referring to “herd immunity” when enough people have developed resistance to a disease to stop its transmission.

He also again cast doubt on the scientific advice of his own administration on mask-wearing.

“The idea of a masks is sweet, however… you are continuously touching it. You’re touching your face. You’re touching plates. There are folks that do not suppose masks are good,” he said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urges the use of face masks.

Mr Trump has made contradictory comments on face masks, on the one hand disparaging them as unsanitary, and on the other calling on Americans to “present patriotism” by wearing them.

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Media captionTrump pivots on masks: ‘I’m getting used to the masks’

The Q&A gathering with undecided voters on Tuesday got here because the presidential election battle entered its remaining stretches.

Mr Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden is predicted to sit down for the same programme in Pennsylvania that can air on Thursday.

Pennsylvania is seen as a key battleground state within the race to the White House.

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