President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to spread misinformation, disputing the death rate of the coronavirus as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), calling the 3.4 percent figure “really a false number,” adding that “it’s just my hunch.”
“I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. It’s just my hunch,” Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in a phone interview Wednesday evening when asked for his reaction to the death rate reported earlier this week. “Now, this is just a hunch, but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this.”
“A lot of people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor. You never hear about those people,” Trump continued, asserting that those cases could not be included in the overall count of people who have contracted the coronavirus, which he at one point incorrectly identified as the “corona flu” before correcting himself.
“Personally, I think the number is way under 1 percent,” Trump continued.
WHO officials reported the 3.4 percent death rate among cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide during a press briefing Tuesday — a figure that is higher than previously thought. Two percent had been a figure used earlier.
“Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The mortality rates from coronavirus have varied from country to country, with South Korea, as one example, showing a much lower mortality rate — something that has been credited to the increased testing in that country.
Watch Trump’s take on the data:
President Trump said that the WHO's estimated death rate for the coronavirus of 3.4% is a "false number," asserting that the real number is "way under 1%" during an interview with Sean Hannity pic.twitter.com/roWwYqLKRl
— Chris Cameron (@ChrisCameronNYT) March 5, 2020
During the Fox News interview Wednesday night, Trump also at one point suggested that people would get better from the virus while going to work.
“If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by sitting around and even going to work – some of them go to work – but they get better, and then when you do have a death like you had in the state of Washington like you had one in California, I believe you had one in New York, now all of a sudden it seems like 3 or 4 percent which is a very high number, as opposed to … a fraction of 1 percent,” Trump told Hannity.
By Thursday morning, Trump was lashing out at the media over the coverage over his Fox News remarks, tweeting that he “NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
Trump accused Democrats and media outlets, singling out MSNBC in particular, of disseminating “disinformation” about his administration’s response to the coronavirus in order to “do harm” the effort.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2020
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