Trump denies minimising Covid danger: I ‘up-played’ it

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In an interview, President Trump mentioned he minimised the virus’s severity to keep away from panic

US President Donald Trump has denied downplaying the seriousness of Covid-19, regardless of admitting in a recorded interview to having carried out that.

At a televised occasion with voters, Mr Trump mentioned he had “up-played” it.

The declare contradicts feedback Mr Trump made to journalist Bob Woodward earlier this yr, when he mentioned he minimised the virus’s severity to keep away from panic.

Mr Trump additionally repeated on Tuesday {that a} vaccine might be prepared “inside weeks” regardless of scepticism from well being specialists.

No vaccine has but accomplished medical trials, main some scientists to worry politics reasonably than well being and security is driving the push for a vaccine earlier than the three November presidential elections.

More than 195,000 folks have died with Covid-19 within the US for the reason that starting of the pandemic, in keeping with knowledge collated by Johns Hopkins college.

Meanwhile, the journal Scientific American on Tuesday endorsed a presidential candidate for the primary time in its 175-year historical past, backing Democrat Joe Biden for the White House.

The journal mentioned Mr Trump “rejects proof and science” and described his response to the coronavirus pandemic as “dishonest and inept”.

What did Trump say?

At Tuesday’s city corridor assembly held by ABC News in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr Trump was requested why he would “downplay a pandemic that’s recognized to disproportionately hurt low-income households and minority communities”.

Mr Trump responded: “Yeah, effectively, I did not downplay it. I truly, in some ways, I up-played it, by way of motion.”

“My motion was very sturdy,” he mentioned, citing a ban imposed on folks travelling from China and Europe earlier this yr.

“We would have misplaced 1000’s of extra folks had I not put the ban on. We saved quite a lot of lives after we did that,” Mr Trump mentioned.

The US ban on foreign travellers who were recently in China got here into drive in early February, whereas a ban on travellers from European international locations was introduced the following month.

But Mr Trump has been accused o being sluggish implementing measures to curtail the virus.

One epidemiologist instructed the New York Times in February that curbing journey to and from China was more of an emotional or political reaction.

“The cow’s already out of the barn and we’re now speaking about shutting the barn door,” Dr Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy on the University of Minnesota, instructed the newspaper.

In its assertion on Tuesday, Scientific American mentioned regardless of warnings in January and February, Mr Trump “didn’t develop a nationwide technique to offer protecting tools, coronavirus testing or clear well being pointers.”

What did he inform Woodward?

Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal in 1972 and is without doubt one of the US’s most revered journalists, interviewed Mr Trump 18 instances from December to July.

In February, Mr Trump indicated in an interview with Woodward that he knew extra concerning the severity of the sickness than he had mentioned publicly.

According to a recording of the decision, the president mentioned coronavirus was deadlier than the flu.

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Media captionHow Trump’s perspective towards coronavirus shifted between March and April

“It goes by way of the air,” Mr Trump is heard saying on the tape. “That’s all the time more durable than the contact. You do not have to the touch issues. Right? But the air, you simply breathe the air and that is the way it’s handed.

“And in order that’s a really difficult one. That’s a really delicate one.”

Later that month, Mr Trump mentioned that the virus was “very a lot beneath management”, and that the case depend would quickly be near zero. He additionally publicly implied the flu was extra harmful than Covid-19.

Speaking on Capitol Hill on 10 March, Mr Trump mentioned: “Just keep calm. It will go away.”

Nine days later, after the White House declared the pandemic a nationwide emergency, the president instructed Woodward: “I wished to all the time play it down. I nonetheless like taking part in it down, as a result of I do not wish to create a panic.”

What else did Trump say in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, Mr Trump, who’s searching for re-election, repeated his earlier declare that the virus would disappear by itself as a result of folks would “develop… herd mentality”, probably referring to “herd immunity” when sufficient folks have developed resistance to a illness to cease its transmission.

He additionally once more forged doubt on the scientific recommendation of his personal administration on mask-wearing.

“The idea of a masks is nice, however… you are always touching it. You’re touching your face. You’re touching plates. There are folks that do not suppose masks are good,” he mentioned.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urges the usage of face masks.

Mr Trump has made contradictory feedback on face masks, on the one hand disparaging them as unsanitary, and on the opposite calling on Americans to “show patriotism” by wearing them.

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Media captionTrump pivots on masks: ‘I’m getting used to the masks’

The Q&A gathering with undecided voters on Tuesday got here because the presidential election battle entered its remaining stretches.

Mr Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden is anticipated to take a seat for the same programme in Pennsylvania that may air on Thursday.

Pennsylvania is seen as a key battleground state within the race to the White House.

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