Trump keeps downplaying the crisis even as the first lady recovers from COVID-19.
Donald Trump has repeatedly told Americans not to worry about COVID-19 and promised every infected American the same "cure" he got, for free. But more than 8,000 Americans have died of the virus since he first made that promise.
On Monday, Trump told supporters at an Arizona rally that the coronavirus was nothing to worry about because it did not kill him.
"If you have it, you have it, and you get better. But we have great therapeutics. I took something, Regeneron, which we're making available to everybody free. But to me, it was a cure. Really, it wasn't a therapeutic to me, it was a cure," he claimed, referencing an experimental antibody cocktail from drugmaker Regeneron, one of several medications he received during his treatment. Early trials have shown the cocktail may help speed recovery for some COVID-19 patients.
"I took it. I didn't feel so great. I will tell you that. I don't like to admit that in a long time, and I didn't feel too great, and when you're president you have a lot of doctors checking you out, right?" he added.
After he checked himself out of the hospital, Trump released a video on Oct. 7 claiming that Regeneron's product was not just a "therapeutic," but "a cure."
"I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president," Trump said in the video, "because I feel great. I feel like perfect." Trump has not offered any plan for how to deliver on this promise, beyond the $450 million contract his administration signed with Regeneron in July, which the company said would cover roughly 300,000 doses.
According to the COVID Tracking Project's data, at least 8,255 Americans have died since Trump made that promise in early October. Hundreds of thousands more have tested positive for the virus over that time.
The Trump administration did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
As he continues to belittle the virus, downplay its dangers, and lie about the availability of a "cure," Trump's own wife has said she is still battling symptoms from her own bout with the virus.
On Tuesday, Melania Trump canceled a planned campaign stop in Pennsylvania — an appearance that was to be her first since the August Republican convention.
"Mrs. Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from Covid-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today," her spokesperson told CNN.
While the administration has not indicated whether Mrs. Trump has been given Trump's "cure," very few Americans have access to it — regardless of whether it is an effective treatment for the virus. At the time of Trump's treatment, he was one of the first 10 patients given the drug under compassionate-use rules.
Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer told CBS News on Oct. 11 that Trump's individual results were "the weakest evidence that you can get" of the cocktail's efficacy as a treatment.
"The real evidence has to come about how good a drug is and what it will do on average has to come from these large clinical trials, these randomized clinical trials, which are the gold standard. And those are ongoing," he explained. Schleifer is reportedly a friend of Trump's and a member of one of his private golf clubs.
The company said earlier this month that it had only about 50,000 doses available so far. More people than that tested positive on Monday alone.
This is not the first time Trump has touted an unproven treatment as a "miracle" cure. He previously urged Americans to use hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, despite growing scientific evidence that it was infective and could even be harmful to COVID-19 patients.
More than 220,000 Americans have now died of causes related to COVID-19 to date, according to the New York Times.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.