Trump Says 99% of COVID-19 Cases 'Totally Harmless'

AP News
July 06, 2020 - 11:40 am

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is understating the danger of the coronavirus to people who get it, as more and more become infected in the U.S.

    In his latest of many statements playing down the severity of the pandemic, Trump declared that 99% of cases of COVID-19 are harmless. That flies in the face of science and of the reality captured by the U.S. death toll of about 130,000. Trump also sounded a dismissive note about the need for breathing machines.

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    Throughout the pandemic, Trump has declared it under control in the U.S. when it hasn't been. His remarks on that subject and more from the past week:

    “Now we have tested over 40 million people. But by so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless," Trump said on July 4. 

    Associated Press reports that this statement does not reflect the suffering of millions of COVID-19 patients.

    The World Health Organization, for one, has said about 20% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 progress to severe disease, including pneumonia and respiratory failure. Whatever the numbers turn out to be, it's clear that the threat is not limited to the merest sliver of those who get the disease.

    Aside from that, those with mild or no symptoms also can spread the virus to others who are more vulnerable.

    Asked Sunday to defend Trump's claim, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn declined to do so. He instead urged Americans not to back off the federal government's public health measures urging social distancing and wearing a mask.

    “What I’ll say is that we have data in the White House task force," Hahn told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Those data show us that this is a serious problem. People need to take it seriously.”