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The American Independent

Trump undermines health experts and calls coronavirus death rate 'false'

Trump spread harmful misinformation about the coronavirus on Sean Hannity’s show Wednesday night.

By Emily Singer - March 05, 2020
Donald Trump

Donald Trump on Wednesday night ignored or dismissed facts about the coronavirus, and cast doubt on the global death rate of people suffering from the virus provided by health experts.

In an interview with his friend and Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump said the 3.4% death rate the World Health Organization has calculated is “really a false number” — a claim he made based not on facts but his own “hunch.”

“We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by sitting around, even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better,” Trump told Hannity.

“And then when you do have a death like you had in the state of Washington, like you had in the state of California, I believe you had one in New York, all of a sudden it seems like 3 or 4%, which seems like a very high number, as opposed to a fraction of 1%.”

Trump’s comments came after the WHO increased its death rate estimate of reported COVID-19 cases globally, from 2% to 3.4%. That’s far higher than the seasonal flu death rate, which is less than 1%.

Experts told the New York Times that the death rate may be lower as they learn more information about the virus and how people with mild cases fared.

However, Trump didn’t cite experts; he said instead, “This is just my hunch.”

Trump has lied and tried to downplay the impacts of coronavirus, as he fears it could hurt his reelection chances, according to multiple reports.

But his flippant attitude — including saying on Fox News that some people with the virus go to work, without advising that people with possible symptoms should stay home — undermines public health experts’ efforts to prevent a pandemic.

In fact, staying home from work is one of the central pieces of advice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued in order to stop the spread of the disease.

“There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy,” the CDC says on its website, including washing your hands often, not touching your face, and staying home from work if you’re sick.

After backlash about his comment suggesting people with the virus go to work, Trump attacked the media.

“I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work. This is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats, in particular MSDNC,” Trump tweeted.

“Comcast covers the CoronaVirus situation horribly, only looking to do harm to the incredible & successful effort being made!” Trump wrote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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