Trump compares Covid-19 death rates to annual flu

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Donald Trump has sought to reinforce his message that the coronavirus poses only a minimal risk to the health of the general public, using his first morning back in the White House after a three-day hospital stay to compare the pandemic to annual flu.

The statement of the American president, made Tuesday morning on Twitter, comes just 12 hours after ostensibly removing his face mask for an extended period of time after returning to the White House on Monday night. Shortly thereafter, he posted a video urging Americans “not to let [the virus] dominate you ”and“ be not afraid of it ”.

“Many people each year, sometimes over 100,000 people, and despite the vaccine, die from the flu,” Trump wrote on Tuesday morning. “Are we going to close our country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we learn to live with Covid, in most populations that are much less lethal !!! ”

His minimization of the disease and his decision to remove his mask while still suffering from the virus, drew criticism from political rivals and some public health experts. Asked about the president’s message, Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease specialist, warned against underestimating the virus.

“Obviously, the message should be that we should try our best to avoid infection,” Dr Fauci said during a panel discussion on Monday. “It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or what your underlying condition is, we shouldn’t trivialize it.”

Video: US Election 2020: Coronavirus and Battlefield States

Mr Trump’s insistence that Covid-19 is more manageable than the flu puts him at odds with most scientists and puts his handling of the pandemic back at the center of the 2020 presidential campaign with less than a month before election day. It also comes in the midst of an outbreak at the White House, where several collaborators have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 48 hours.

Joe Biden, his Democratic rival, appeared to appreciate the opportunity to engage Mr. Trump in his handling of the pandemic, which most Americans believe the president has mismanaged. In a public meeting Monday night, Mr Biden attempted to link the president’s coronavirus diagnosis to his comprehensive approach to the pandemic.

“Listen, anybody who contracts the virus basically saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think that’s responsible for what happens to them,” Mr. Biden at the event, broadcast nationally by NBC News.

Mr. Biden’s campaign too posted a video, posted on the former vice president’s Twitter feed, showing the Democratic candidate putting on a mask alongside a video of Mr. Trump removing his mask when he arrived at the White House on Monday evening.

A new poll for CNN, released Tuesday, showed 59% of Americans trust Mr. Biden to handle Mr. Trump’s pandemic; Only 38% trusted the president rather than his Democratic rival.

Marsh Notes

In the countdown to the 2020 election, stay on top of the campaign’s big issues with our US Power and Politics newsletter with columnists Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce. register here



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