Lies are as dangerous as the coronavirus. And unfortunately both are infecting the public. You would think by now everyone knows the president is a pathological liar, but there are millions of people who believe the lies, conspiracy and foolishness that is the daily bread at the white White House. The president has denounced the medical experts who has warned of the dangers and how the public can get testing. He has suggested that it might be alright for people with the virus to go to work, while the Centers for Disease Control and other public health agencies have cautioned people who believe they are infected to stay at home. While Trump downplays the virus and blames President Obama, the experts say the coronavirus seems more deadly than most strains of the flu, and while there are widely available treatments and vaccines for the flu, none are ready yet and it could take a year or long for a coronavirus vaccine.
Many countries are testing by the thousands, but our testing is just beginning, news reports say at least four million test kits are on the way, but currently there is confusion about how and where to get the testing. Those true believers are the ones who will not get tested, not self-quarantine or if they are tested positive will keep going among us spreading their germs. On planes, at sports events, in crowd events the Trump true believers will not be protecting themselves or you. It is not because they are bad people. It is because they choose to believe their president. One Trump believer was on TV saying she does not believe the virus is dangerous because Trump has called it a hoax. This is not a time to play politics with our lives.
What we are also seeing is a whole-sale push for Trump’s administration to confirm his lies, some CDC officials have already reportedly been abused for telling the truth. Even the military might not be protecting our troops well from it. The Times reported that Defense Secretary Mark Esper has warned the military not to make decisions related to the coronavirus that might “run afoul of President Trump’s messaging,” even as leaders have to make quick judgments about protecting troops stationed in countries with outbreaks. For the best accurate reports please consult the CDC websites, while they are allowed to still report the truth. WWW.CDC.gov/coronavirus.
- March 5, 2020
- President Trump has made a series of rosy — and sometimes false — claims about the coronavirus, including the risks to Americans and how his administration is responding.
Here is a timeline of some of his comments, placed in context and fact-checked.
The worst week for global markets since the 2008 financial crisis concludes. Sixty cases have been confirmed in the U.S.
Mr. Trump tweeted:
“So, the Coronavirus, which started in China and spread to various countries throughout the world, but very slowly in the U.S. because President Trump closed our border, and ended flights, VERY EARLY, is now being blamed, by the Do Nothing Democrats, to be the fault of ‘Trump’.”
He also tweeted:
“The Do Nothing Democrats were busy wasting time on the Immigration Hoax, & anything else they could do to make the Republican Party look bad, while I was busy calling early BORDER & FLIGHT closings, putting us way ahead in our battle with Coronavirus. Dems called it VERY wrong!”
Six coronavirus deaths have been reported in the U.S., all near Seattle. Global cases top 90,000.
At a rally in Charlotte, N.C.:
“We had a great meeting today with a lot of the great companies, and they’re going to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon. And they’re going to have something that makes you better, and that’s going to actually take place we think even sooner.”
This was misleading. According to Mr. Trump’s own health care experts and pharmaceutical executives, whom he had met with hours earlier, a vaccine may be available for widespread use in about a year to 18 months.
He also made this reassurance: “The United States is right now ranked by far No. 1 in the world for preparedness.”
This was exaggerated. The United States did rank No. 1 out of 195 countries in the Global Health Security Index overall and first in four of six criteria. But the index also warned that “no country is fully prepared for epidemics or pandemics.” And it noted a specific weakness of the United States as well: lack of universal access to health care and high out-of-pocket costs.
The president also compared the coronavirus to the flu: “From 27,000 to 70,000 people get infected, and many people die. Think of it, 27,000. You lose 27,000 people to the common flu.”
This is misleading. The figures are largely accurate but obscure some notable differences. The coronavirus seems more deadly than most strains of the flu, and while there are widely available treatments and vaccines for the flu, none are ready yet for the coronavirus.
The Federal Reserve cuts interest rates by half a point. The stock market continues to slump.
Mr. Trump said to reporters:
“There’s only one hot spot, and that’s also pretty much in a very — in a home, as you know, in a nursing home.”
This is understated. The definition of a disease “hot spot” is imprecise, but there had been more clusters of coronavirus in the United States than Mr. Trump suggested. The relative paucity of tests may also have obscured the number of cases and their locations. A week earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also reported “community spread of the virus” in two places in California and in Oregon, in addition to the long-term care facility in suburban Seattle cited by Mr. Trump. And New York announced a second case hours after Mr. Trump spoke.
A cluster of cases is reported in New York. A 10th patient dies in Washington State. The House passes an emergency aid package of $8.3 billion.
In a White House meeting:
“The Obama administration made a decision on testing and that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago.”
This was misleading. Mr. Trump was likely referring to “draft guidance” issued in 2014 that extended the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate laboratory-developed tests, but that was never finalized or enforceable. A law enacted in 2004 created the process and requirements for receiving authorization to use unapproved testing products in health emergencies. The agency had announced four days earlier that it would permit unapproved tests for 15 days while developers are preparing their emergency authorization request, but it did not “undo” any regulations or laws.
Later, in an interview with Mr. Hannity, the president cast doubt on the rate of death reported by the World Health Organization:
“Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild. … So, if we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
The 3.4 percent refers to the rate of deaths among reported cases of coronavirus, so Mr. Trump has a point that it may not include milder cases. Dr. Bruce Aylward, who is leading the World Health Organization’s coronavirus efforts, estimated an ultimate rate of 1 to 2 percent.
Stocks continue to slide. The first U.S. coronavirus death outside Washington State is reported in California. Cases surpass 200 in the U.S. and 97,800 worldwide.
Mr. Trump angrily rebutted criticism over his comments to Mr. Hannity on Twitter:
“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. Comcast covers the CoronaVirus situation horribly, only looking to do harm to the incredible & successful effort being made!”
Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to The Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact. @ylindaqiu
Mikayla Bouchard is an assistant editor based in Washington, where she helps direct and execute multimedia coverage of major news events.
China has had hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths. The first case was announced in the United States three days before.
Mr. Trump tweeted:
“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”
While the Chinese response to the coronavirus was more transparent than during the SARS outbreak nearly two decades earlier, it was not a model of open communication. The government continued to censor criticism and suppress information. A Chinese doctor who tried to warn his medical school classmates about the virus in December was detained by authorities for questioning. He was infected with the virus and died two weeks after Mr. Trump’s tweet.
Cases have been reported in 17 countries. In China, the outbreak has surpassed that of SARS. Five cases are confirmed in the U.S.
Mr. Trump tweeted:
“Just received a briefing on the Coronavirus in China from all of our GREAT agencies, who are also working closely with China. We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments. We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!”
The death toll has topped 300, including the first fatality outside China. The World Health Organization and U.S. have declared a public health emergency.
Mr. Trump spoke with the Fox News personality Sean Hannity:
“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China,” Mr. Trump said of the coronavirus. “But we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. So, we’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”
The death toll is well over 1,000. U.S. cases have reached 14. Flawed testing kits were sent to state labs by the C.D.C.
Mr. Trump addressed the National Border Patrol Council:
“And 61 percent of the voters approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. And, you know, we did a very early move on that. We did a — I was criticized by a lot of people at the beginning because we were the first. We’d never done it before.”
He also offered an optimistic prediction:
“There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm — historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet.”
Warmer weather does not “kill” the seasonal flu, but slows its transmission. It’s unclear if this will hold true for coronavirus infections, which have similar symptoms to the flu but are caused by a different virus. Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also contradicted Mr. Trump’s theory a day earlier, telling CNN that “this virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year.”
The S&P 500 falls 3.4 percent, the worst single day in two years. The death toll has surpassed 2,600. U.S. cases have reached 53.
Mr. Trump tweeted:
“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
The stock market continues to slump as the C.D.C. warns to expect a spread of coronavirus in the U.S.
Mr. Trump, visiting India, tweeted:
“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!”
In two other posts, he also said:
“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus, including the very early closing of our borders to certain areas of the world. It was opposed by the Dems, ‘too soon’, but turned out to be the correct decision. No matter how well we do, however, the Democrats talking point is that we are doing badly. If the virus disappeared tomorrow, they would say we did a really poor, and even incompetent, job. Not fair, but it is what it is. So far, by the way, we have not had one death. Let’s keep it that way!”Get an informed guide to the global outbreak with our daily coronavirus newsletter.
At a news conference, Mr. Trump was asked about his previous criticisms of the Obama administration’s handling of Ebola in 2014. He responded: “At that time, nobody had ever even heard of Ebola or ever conceived of something where you basically — the people would disintegrate. And we’re still working on Ebola.” He went on saying, “The level of death with Ebola — you know, at the time, it was a virtual hundred percent.”
This was exaggerated. Ebola got its name from a 1976 outbreak. The average fatality rate is around 50 percent, but has ranged from 27 percent in Sierra Leone during the 2014 to 2016 outbreak to 88 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, while the coronavirus can be transmitted more easily, through close contact or droplets from sneezes and coughs.
Cases are confirmed in more than 30 countries. Vice President Mike Pence is given the job of leading the coronavirus response in the U.S.
At a news conference at the White House, Mr. Trump addressed Democratic criticism of his response:
“We should all be working together,” he said. He added: “All they’re trying to do is get a political advantage. This isn’t about political advantage. We’re all trying to do the right thing. They shouldn’t be saying: ‘This is terrible. President Trump isn’t asking for enough money.’ How stupid a thing to say. If they want to give us more money, that’s OK.”
The president responded to whether U.S. schools should prepare for the virus:
“I think every aspect of our society should be prepared. I don’t think it’s going to come to that, especially with the fact that we’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up. But, yeah, I think schools should be preparing and, you know, get ready just in case.” He added: “We have it so well under control. I mean, we really have done a very good job.”
His claim about cases “going very substantially down” was false and contradicted what the secretary of health and human services and a top official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said moments earlier in the same news conference: that they expected “more cases.”