Trump downplays coronavirus by comparing it to flu

President Trump on Tuesday sought to downplay the coronavirus by comparing it to the flu, even though the coronavirus has killed many more people than the flu has in recent years. 

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump tweeted. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”


Twitter later placed a label on the tweet warning that it violated rules about spreading coronavirus misinformation. The post is still viewable, but users cannot interact with it. 

The coronavirus has already killed more than 210,000 Americans. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the deadliest flu season in recent years was 2017-2018 when it killed an estimated 61,000 people. And many seasons were much lower; 23,000 people died of the flu during the 2015-2016 season. 

“Doctors and scientists are working to estimate the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be substantially higher (possibly 10 times or more) than that of most strains of the flu,” a Johns Hopkins University fact sheet reads.

Experts say coronavirus deaths could be even higher if it were not for the measures put in place to slow the spread, from business closures to mask wearing.  

Trump himself, appearing with his coronavirus task force in late March, pointed to estimates that as many as 2.2 million Americans could die from coronavirus if it were not for the measures taken to slow the spread. 

“Think of the number: 2.2 — potentially 2.2 million people if we did nothing,” Trump said then.  

Trump also told journalist Bob Woodward in early February: “It’s also more deadly than your — you know, your, even your strenuous flus.” 

Trump has sought several times to downplay the virus in recent days, despite being diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday.

Before being released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, where he was being treated, he posted a tweet that said, “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

He posted a video with a similar message upon returning to the White House on Monday. 

“Don’t let it dominate you,” he said. “Don’t be afraid of it.”

–Updated at 11:33 a.m.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Trump positive test
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