On Feb. 26, Donald Trump told Americans that the number of coronavirus infections would soon be zero. A month later, there are at least 68,534 cases.
On Feb. 26, Donald Trump said there were only 15 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, and he predicted the number would soon be zero.
"Because of all we've done, the risk to the American people remains very low," Trump said. "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done."
At the time, Trump was mistaken about the number of U.S. cases. There were 60 confirmed cases, not 15.
And despite his promises, since that day, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased by 114,123%. (The number of cases has increased by 456,793% from the 15 confirmed cases Trump claimed there were.)
According to the New York Times, there are at least 68,534 confirmed cases.
Three days after Trump's prediction, on Feb. 29, the first U.S. death from coronavirus was reported near Seattle. Since then, at least 989 additional people have died, according to the Times.
Trump has been regularly criticized for downplaying the severity of the crisis.
Even as the outbreak grew worse, Trump still refused to speak about it with any urgency. On March 10, Trump said the coronavirus outbreak "will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away."
Earlier this week Trump suggested rushing to reopen schools and businesses by Easter, April 12.
"It's such an important day for other reasons, but I'll make an important day, but I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," Trump said Tuesday at a Fox News town hall.
The next day, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director-general, warned against such an idea.
Social distancing measures "are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the coronavirus doesn't resurge," he said at a Wednesday news conference. "The last thing any country needs is to open schools and businesses, only to be forced to close them again because of a resurgence."
Trump's eagerness to reopen schools and businesses goes against the advice of top medical professionals in his own administration.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Friday that Americans should expect to stay at home for weeks during the outbreak.
"If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks and other areas, at least going to be several weeks," Fauci said.
Despite Trump's claim, the coronavirus pandemic has not just gone away.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.