Tag Archives: COVID-19. Trump

April COVID 19 Trump

April COVID 19 Trump

This is the third post regarding President Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are links to the first and the second.

I have also posted chronologies about the pandemic in general. Here are links to the first and the second and third of those.

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump Diverts

April 1: CNN reported that President Donald Trump had made another series of false, misleading or dubious claims at a  coronavirus briefing that began with an off-topic discussion of his administration’s efforts to fight drug trafficking.

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump Claims U.S. Testing Most Per Capita

April 2: Trump again said that “nobody” could have foreseen a pandemic crisis leading to a shortage of ventilators, for which there were numerous warnings. He predicted that the virus would no longer be a concern after about a month, a timeline at odds with assessments of experts. And he implied some states are basically fine when it comes to the coronavirus.

During his  briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump repeated a claim that the United States has done more testing for the contagion on a per-capita basis than any other country.

“We’re now conducting well over 100,000 coronavirus tests per day,” Trump said. “It’s over 100,000 tests a day. And these are accurate tests, and they’re moving rapidly, which is more than any other country in the world, both in terms of the raw number and also on a per-capita basis, the most.”

Given the population of the U.S. (about 327 million), that’s roughly one in every 273 people, as of April 2.

South Korea, with its population of 51.5 million, has done 431,743 tests, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s approximately one in every 119 people.

Germany had tested about one-in-90 people — 918,460 with a population of 82.8 million. Germany also happens to have one of the lowest fatality rates from COVID-19.

With 581,232 tests conducted, according to the Italian health ministry, and a population of roughly 60.5 million, Italy’s testing per capita is on par with South Korea — about one in every 104.

April COVID 19 Trump

2019 BioDefense Summit

On April 3, 2020 CNN reported that at the at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council said, “Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course. I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern,” Azar said, before listing off efforts to mitigate the impact of flu outbreaks.

Such a statement undercut President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was an unforeseen problem.

April COVID 19 Trump

C.D.C. says all Americans should wear masks.

Trump says he won’t.

April 3: President Trump said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was urging all Americans to wear a mask when they leave their homes, but he undercut the message by repeatedly calling the recommendation voluntary and saying he would not wear one himself.

“With the masks, it is going to be a voluntary thing,” the president said at the beginning of the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. “You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I am choosing not to do it. It may be good. It is only a recommendation, voluntary.”

“Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don’t know,” he added, though he stopped receiving foreign dignitaries weeks ago. “Somehow, I just don’t see it for myself.” [NYT article]

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump Continues  to Promote Dubious Treatments

April 3: NPR reported that President Trump continued to claim that hydroxychloroquine was a promising treatment for COVID-19.

“Hydroxychloroquine, I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s looking like it’s having some good results. I hope that, that would be a phenomenal thing.”

But the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine had just recently started, and the scientists in charge of them have not reported any results as yet, either positive or negative. Seeing any positive effect from the drug is likely to take some time, perhaps weeks.

April COVID 19 Trump

Surge yet…

April 4: the NY Times reported that President Trump predicted a surging death toll in what he said may be “the toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic before also dispensing unproven medical advice. He suggested again that Americans might be able to congregate for Easter services next Sunday.

“There will be a lot of death,” he said at the White House, where he and other American officials depicted some parts of the United States as climbing toward the peaks of their crises, while warning that new hot spots were emerging in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

April COVID 19 Trump

What do you have to lose?

April 5: NPR reported that President Trump doubled down on the suggestion that people facing the coronavirus should consider taking an anti-malaria drug that has not been proven to be an effective treatment.

In a news conference he repeated a line he has said many times before — “what do you have to lose?” — when detailing that the federal government had stockpiled 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine for potential use to treat the virus. He also suggested doctors take the drug before treating coronavirus patients.

What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose? And a lot of people are saying that when … and are taking it, if you’re a doctor, a nurse, a first responder, a medical person going into hospitals, they say taking it before the fact is good, but what do you have to lose? They say, take it, I’m not looking at it one way or the other, but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early. But we have some very good signs. So that’s hydroxy chloroquine and as azithromycin, and again, you have to go through your medical people get the approval. But I’ve seen things that I sort of like, so what do I know? I’m not a doctor, I’m not a doctor, but I have common sense. [full transcript]

April COVID 19 Trump

White House official warned in January that a pandemic could imperil millions of Americans.

April 7: the NY Times reported that Peter Navarro had warned in a memo to Trump administration officials on January 29 that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.

“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” Navarro’s memo said. “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”

The memo came during a period when Mr. Trump was playing down the risks to the United States. He later went on to say that no one could have predicted such a devastating outcome.

In one worst-case scenario cited in the memo, more than a half-million Americans could die.

April 7: Trump criticized the WHO for mishandling the pandemic. “The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China-centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” [NPR timeline]

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump weakens oversight

April 7: President Trump moved to oust Glenn A. Fine of the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee charged with overseeing how the administration spent trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief.

Fine had been the acting inspector general for the Defense Department since before Trump had taken office and was set to become the chairman of the new committee to police how the government carries out the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, but Trump replaced Mr. Fine in his Pentagon job, disqualifying him from serving on the new oversight panel. [NYT article]

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump/WHO contradiction

The NY  Times reported that President Trump threatened to cut funding from the World Health Organization, accusing it of not being aggressive enough in confronting the dangers from the virus.
“We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the W.H.O.,”  Trump said.
In fact,  on January 30  the W.H.O. officially declared COVID a  “public health emergency of international concern.”weeks before Trump declared a national emergency. In fact, on that same day, Trump said, “We think we have it very well under control.”
April COVID 19 Trump

Kayleigh McEnany

April 7: Kayleigh McEnany replaced Stephanie Grisham as the White House press secretary, a position that had become a titular one. Grisham left without ever having briefed the press.
In a video of McEnany on the Fox Business show “Trish Regan Primetime” from Feb. 25, circulated by Andrew Kaczynski of CNN, the new press secretary said, “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism come here, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?”
April COVID 19 Trump

Chloroquine Study Halted

April 13: the NY Times reported that a small study of chloroquine, which is closely related to the hydroxychloroquine drug that President Trump has promoted, was halted in Brazil after coronavirus patients taking a higher dose developed irregular heart rates that increased their risk of a potentially fatal arrhythmia.

The study, which involved 81 hospitalized patients in the city of Manaus, was sponsored by the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Roughly half the participants were prescribed 450 milligrams of chloroquine twice daily for five days, while the rest were prescribed 600 milligrams for 10 days.

Within three days, researchers started noticing heart arrhythmias in patients taking the higher dose. By the sixth day of treatment, 11 patients had died, leading to an immediate end to the high-dose segment of the trial.

April COVID 19 Trump

Unkept Promises

On March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency and in a Rose Garden address, flanked by leaders from giant retailers and medical testing companies, he promised a mobilization of public and private resources to attack the coronavirus.
On April 13, NPR reported that few of those promises had come to pass.
  • Target did not partner with the federal government.
  • A lauded Google project turned out to not to be led by Google at all, but by Verily and then once launched was limited to a smattering of counties in California. According to Verily, there were not 1,700 engineers ever engaged in the project.
  • The president  had said there were 1,700 Google engineers working on it,
  • the retailers had not yet initiated any wide-scale implementation of drive-through tests.  Walmart had opened two testing sites — one in the Chicago area and another in Bentonville, Ark. Walgreens had opened two in Chicago; CVS has opened four sites. Target had not opened any.
  • Home testing kits were promised. NPR called more than 20 LHC sites in 12 states, and none of them were doing in-home testing. Employees at the LHC sites said they lacked both testing kits and the training to administer kits.
  • The president had said he would waive license requirements so that doctors could practice in states with the greatest needs, for example. But medical licensing is a state issue, and the president does not have the authority to waive it.
  • The president had announced that his administration would “purchase, at a very good price, large quantities of crude oil for storage in the U.S. Strategic Reserve.” It had not done so.
April COVID 19 Trump

Trump fights back

April 13: the NY Times reported that President Trump turned  the daily coronavirus task force briefing into an aggressive defense of his own halting response to the pandemic and used a campaign-style video to denounce criticism that he moved too slowly to limit the deadly spread of the virus.

For nearly an hour, Mr. Trump vented his frustration after weekend news reports that his own public health officials were prepared by late February to recommend aggressive social distancing measures, but that the president did not announce them until several weeks later — a crucial delay that allowed the virus to spread.

In an article on the same meeting, NPR reported that Trump declined to specify exactly when he expected to see restrictions eased on the American public but offered that he expected full cooperation from states, following guidelines from his task force. That statement was in contrast to the fact that several governors had banded together to coordinate easing their restrictions as groups.

“The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful,” Trump said. “The president of the United States calls the shots.” (see April 16 below)

April COVID 19 Trump

April 14: the NY Times reported that recent polls had show that more Americans disapproved of  President Trump’s handling of the virus than approve.

On this date, the president tried to shift the blame elsewhere, ordered his administration to halt funding for the World Health Organization and claimed the organization had made a series of devastating mistakes as it sought to battle the virus. He said his administration would conduct a review into whether the W.H.O. was responsible for “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread.

“So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” the president told reporters during a White House briefing.

António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, defended the World Health Organization, saying it “must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against Covid-19.”

Guterres added that it was “possible that the same facts have had different readings by different entities,” but he said that the middle of a pandemic was not the time to resolve those differences.

“It is also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus,” he said.

Patrice A. Harris, the president of the American Medical Association, said that the move was “a dangerous step in the wrong direction.” [2nd NYT article]

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump walk-back

April 16: though having said on April 13 that “the president of the United States calls the shots,” on this date, the President essentially ceded control over easing restrictions to the states.

“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump told reporters during a briefing at the White House.

In the hours before Trump spoke, the $349 billion fund for small businesses ran out of money and a new labor report revealed that 22 million Americans had filed for unemployment in just the last month. Basic necessities like food, shelter and medical care, long taken for granted by most people, were suddenly at risk for millions.[NY Times article]

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump’s Saturday coronavirus briefing was littered with false claims, old and new

April 18: CNN reported that President Donald Trump’s coronavirus press conference was littered with false claims about the pandemic crisis.

  • Trump continued to favorably compare the coronavirus testing situation in the US to the situation in other countries. He alleged that Democratic governors are deliberately not using testing capacity the federal government has created — and suggested that the only governors “complaining” about testing challenges are Democrats.


CNN: There is no evidence that any governor is deliberately not using available testing capacity. And it’s not only Democratic governors who have spoken of problems and challenges with testing. Governors from both parties, and public health officials around the country, have warned that they are still unable to do the amount of testing needed to safely lift social and economic restrictions.

  • Trump repeated one of his go-to falsehoods that he often uses to defend his administration’s fumbled response to the coronavirus pandemic. “In speaking to the leaders of other countries this morning, they said this is incredible the way you’ve done this so quickly,” Trump said, without naming any foreign officials. “You know, we’re only talking about a few weeks since everybody knew this was such a big problem.

CNN: Trump is on an island with this one. Not only have there been multiple warnings about America’s vulnerability to a pandemic over the past few years, but Trump’s own government issued numerous warnings since the beginning of this year about the potential severity of the coronavirus.

  •  President Trump repeated his claim that he inherited a “bare cupboard” of medical supplies to fight coronavirus from the Obama administration. “We started off with a broken system. We inherited a broken, terrible system. And I always say it, our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile. Now we’re loaded up.

CNN: Trump’s argument has some truth to it, but it’s also somewhat misleading. While Trump isn’t wrong to suggest he inherited a depleted stockpile of some medical supplies — the stockpile of masks, for example, was depleted and not replenished by the Obama administration — the cupboards were not completely “bare”; he inherited significant quantities of other supplies. And Trump had three years in office to build depleted stockpiles back up.

  • Speaking about testing for the coronavirus, Trump said, “I inherited broken junk.”

CNN: The faulty initial test for the coronavirus was created during Trump’s administration in early 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since this is a new virus that was first identified this year, the bad tests couldn’t possibly be “inherited.”

  • In addition to claiming President Obama left him with a depleted stockpile of medical supplies, Trump said Obama left him with “no ammunition.” “If you remember when I first came in, we didn’t have ammunition,” Trump said. “Not a good way to fight a war. President Obama left us no ammunition, OK.

CNN: It’s not true that the US had “no ammunition” at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Rather, according to the public comments of military leaders, there was a shortfall in certain kinds of munitions, particularly precision-guided bombs, late in the Obama presidency and early in the Trump presidency.

April COVID 19 Trump


Close borders

April 20, 2020: President Trump announced a plan to close the United States to people trying to come to the country to live and work. He justified the drastic move as a necessary step to protect American workers from foreign competition once the nation’s economy begins to recover from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Not quite close borders

April 21: the NYT reported that the Trump administration announced new restrictions on permanent residency in the United States.

The President said  that he would order a temporary halt in issuing green cards to prevent people from immigrating to the United States, but he backed away from plans to suspend guest worker programs,

April COVID 19 Trump

Science Not Politics Dismissal

April 22: the NY Times reported that Rick Bright, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, the federal involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”

Bright was abruptly dismissed this week and removed as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. He was given a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Bright, who received a Ph.D. in immunology and molecular pathogenesis from Emory University, assailed the leadership at the health department, saying he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, one of several “potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” and repeatedly described by the president as a potential “game changer” in the fight against the virus.

“I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in his statement. “I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”

April COVID 19 Trump

Trump Quackery

April COVID 19 Trump

April 23: the NY Times reported that after William N. Bryan, the head of science at the Department of Homeland Security, told the day’s briefing that the government had tested how sunlight and disinfectants — including bleach and alcohol — can kill the coronavirus on surfaces in as little as 30 seconds, the President said, ““Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but we’re going to test it? And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way.”

Shortly after Mr. Trump made his latest comments, emergency management officials in Washington State posted a warning on Twitter against following the president’s suggestions.

April 24: in Maryland, so many callers flooded a health hotline with questions that the state’s Emergency Management Agency had to issue a warning that “under no circumstances” should any disinfectant be taken to treat the coronavirus.

In New Jersey, Dr. Diane P. Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, warned in an interview that injecting bleach or highly concentrated rubbing alcohol “causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst…(and that) it can definitely be a fatal event.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

Trump COVID 19 Continue

This is the second post that deals primarily with President Trump and his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find the first one here.

In that post I related that on January 18, Health and Human Services  Secretary Alex M Azar had had his first discussion about the virus with President Trump.

More than a month later, President Trump continued to suggest that the COVID-19 crisis was not nearly as serious as many stridently stated. He would continue downplaying issues that medical authorities talked about the rest of the month.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

False Claims

March 4: in an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump called the WHO’s estimate of the global death rate “false,” described the coronavirus as “very mild,” and suggested that those infected can get better by “sitting around” and “going to work.”

March 4: House passed $8.3 billion emergency bill, aimed mainly at the immediate health response to the virus.

In a Fox News interview, Trump deflected criticism to his response by saying the Obama administration (including the vice president, Joe Biden) “didn’t do anything about” swine flu. Politifact rated the claim False.

Trump continued to blame the Obama administration in an exchange with reporters at the White House.

“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing.”

Politifact also rated that claim false also because the process dated back to 2006, before Obama took office.

March 5: in a WHO briefing, Tedros Adhanom praised China and the U.S. for taking “the right approach.” He said: “After our visit to Beijing and seeing China’s approach, and President Xi leading that, and also in the U.S., President Trump himself, and also for regular coordination, designating the vice president. These are the approaches we’re saying are the right ones, and these are the approaches we’re saying are going to mobilize the whole government.”

In a Fox News town hall, Trump said, “It’s going to all work out. Everybody has to be calm. It’s all going to work out.” [NPR timeline]

Trump COVID 19 Continue

Grand Princess

March 6: the Grand Princess cruise ship with over 2,000 passengers waited to dock off the California coast because at least several of those passengers had tested positive for the coronavirus and many showed symptoms.

Asked about the docking of the Grand Princess, Trump said : “I would rather (Grand Princess passengers stay aboard) because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship.” 

Trump went on to say that he thought it was more important for passengers to debark than to keep the numbers down.

Trump COVID 19 Continue


In a news conference, Trump downplayed the concerns around testing:

“Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”

With tests in short supply, Politifact rated the claim False.

The same day, Trump tweeted  [account since suspended] out blame to the media and the Democrats for trying to “inflame” the situation “far beyond what the facts would warrant.”

The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant. Surgeon General, “The risk is low to the average American.”

March 7: the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed 100,000.

President Trump said,  “No, I’m not concerned at all/ No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.

March 8: over 100 countries report cases of COVID-19.

Trump COVID 19 Continue


March 9: WHO moved closer to declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” Tedros says during a press

Trying to minimize the crisis, President Trump tweeted:

Trump COVID 19 Continue

March 10: in a meeting with Republican senators at the U.S. Capitol, Trump said, “This was unexpected. … And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” [NPR timeline]

March 11: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the global COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

President Trump used a prime-time Oval Office address to announce a ban on travel for non-Americans from most of Europe. He misstates a freeze on cargo and falsely said the health insurance industry has “agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments.” In reality, getting tested would be free, but treatment would not be covered.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

National Emergency

March 13: President Trump declared a national emergency to access $50 billion for states and territories, and clear the way for fast-track waivers for hospitals and doctors as they respond to the virus.

He also tweeted falsely: ” President Trump, COVID-19 coronavirus: U.S. cases 1,329; U.S. deaths, 38; panic level: mass hysteria. President Obama, H1N1 virus: U.S. cases, 60.8 million; U.S. deaths, 12,469; panic level: totally chill. Do you all see how the media can manipulate your life.”

March 14: The House passed a worker and business relief bill with paid leave guarantees for certain workers, expanded food assistance and unemployment insurance benefits, and employer tax credits. Trump signedit four days later.

March 15: President Trump advised citizens to avoid groups of more than 10. New York City’s public schools system, the nation’s largest with 1.1 million students, also announced that it would close.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

Work From Home

March 17: President Trump said in a news conference that for the next 14 days, “we’re asking everyone to work at home, if possible, postpone unnecessary travel, and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.”

Trump falsely claimed that there was no shift in tone from the White House.

“I’ve always known this is a real, this is a pandemic. I’ve felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

Asked if the World Health Organization had offered detection tests to the United States, Trump falsely said WHO had not, and that the WHO coronavirus test “was a bad test.”

March 18: in comments made during a White House media briefing, President Trump falsely claimed that “The coronavirus “snuck up on us,” adding that it is “a very unforeseen thing.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

False Hope

March 21: President Trump over enthusiastically praised the possible use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as treatments for COVID-19 even though the  substance, also known as chloroquine phosphate, had not gone through rigorous scientific testing as a coronavirus treatment.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

March 23: following the “advice” of President Trump, a Phoenix-area man died  after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, thinking it would protect against the coronavirus.

March 24: President Trump said on Fox News he wants the U.S. economy to “open” back up by Easter Sunday, even as the number of coronavirus cases in the country accelerates.

In another Fox interview, Trump said, “You’ll have packed churches all over our country … I think it’ll be a beautiful time.”

Trump COVID 19 Continue

More testing

March 27: NPR reported that when asked why the United States did not import coronavirus tests when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran into difficulty developing its own,  Trump government officials had questioned the quality of the foreign-made alternatives referring to a Chinese study that reported nearly half false-positives.

NPR  learned that that study was retracted just days after it was published online in early March.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

Two Trillion $

March 27: President Trump signed into law a $2 trillion measure designed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history, the government will deliver direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses battered by the crisis.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

The NY Times reported that President Trump had announced that the federal government would buy thousands of ventilators from a variety of makers.

His announcement came shortly after authorizing the government to “use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act,” a Korean War-era authority allowing the federal government to commandeer General Motors’ factories and supply chains, to produce ventilators.

Just 24 hours before, Trump had dismissed the complaints of mayors and governors who said that they were getting little of the equipment they needed for an expected onslaught of serious cases.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

CNN Press Conference evaluation

At a news conference that day,  Trump continued to make claims that were weakly true or not true:

  • Trump claimed that 22 days ago, “everything was going beautifully” before the US got hit by what he called “the invisible enemy.” He said, “22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world, everything was going beautifully, the stock market hit an all-time high”

Facts First: While the market had previously set all-time records under Trump, on March 5, 22 days before Trump’s comments, the Dow dropped 3.6% or 970 points, then its fifth-worst single-day point drop on record, adding to a 3,000-point drop since its peak on February 12. That day’s fall in the Dow followed drops of 1,000 points and 800 points earlier that week.

  • Multiple times throughout the press briefing, the President claimed the current situation was unprecedented and unforeseen. According to Trump, “nobody was prepared for this,” not even past presidents. He added, “In all fairness to all of the former presidents, none of them ever thought a thing like this could happen.”
Facts First: This is false. The US intelligence community and public health experts had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic. Experts had also warned that the country would face shortages of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, if a pandemic occurred.
Here is a link about some of the pandemic warnings. Here is a link about warnings about the need for additional ventilators in a pandemic.


  • As he did on Twitter earlier on Friday, Trump suggested at the briefing that General Motors should manufacture ventilators at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio: “…frankly, I think that would be a good place to build the ventilators, but we’ll see,” Trump said.

Facts First:General Motors sold the shuttered Lordstown facility in November 2019. Trump had applauded the potential sale in a tweet in May 2019. Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said on Twitter after Trump’s Friday tweet but before the briefing: “General Motors sold Lordstown. If the President cared about its former workers, he would know that.”

  • Trump said of the coronavirus: “You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus, you know you can call it many different names. I’m not sure anybody even knows what it is.”
Facts First: You cannot accurately call the coronavirus “a flu.” They are, simply, different viruses with different characteristics, though they share some symptoms the coronavirus has a much higher mortality rate.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday during an online chat with NBA star Stephen Curry that the coronavirus is “very much more transmissible than flu and more importantly, it’s significantly more serious” — with a mortality rate approximately 10 times higher than the 0.1% for the flu.
It’s also obviously untrue that there is not “anybody” who knows what the coronavirus is. Though it was initially seen as a mystery virus when it emerged in China, we knew its genetic information by early January.
  • Trump said, “We sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn’t know about it at the time, they were complaining. Thousands. We had 2,000 and then 2,000 and then 4,000, and they were going there in large numbers.” Trump also said at the briefing that New York had been unaware of thousands of ventilators sitting in “a warehouse.”

Facts First: There is no evidence that New York did not know ventilators had arrived from the federal government when Gov. Andrew Cuomo was demanding additional ventilators. “Not true,” New York state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday night. “We knew the ventilators arrived — and we need more ventilators. This is just the beginning of addressing the problem that we have.” Zucker specified that a total of 4,000 ventilators had been received, not the 8,000 Trump suggested here.

Here’s a rough timeline of what happened.
Cuomo said last weekend that the state needed 30,000 ventilators. Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that 400 ventilators had been secured for New York City. Cuomo replied at a news conference that 400 ventilators were not cause for self-congratulation, adding, “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” It was later on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence announced that 2,000 additional ventilators had been shipped to New York that day and that 2,000 more would be shipped the following day.
Cuomo told CNN on Friday that Trump was “incorrect and grossly uninformed” in his comments about New York having been unaware of a stockpile of ventilators sitting around in New York. Cuomo said the state does not need to dip into the stockpile at the moment; he said his estimate of 30,000 ventilators needed is about the expected peak of the crisis in approximately 21 days, not about the present moment.
“So the point is, ‘Well they’re in a stockpile, you must not need them’ is just ignorant — of course you don’t need them today!” Cuomo said. “You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We’re not there yet.”
Trump COVID 19 Continue

Quarantine/No Quarantine

March 28: the NY Times reported that President Trump had said on  that he would not impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but would instead issue a “strong” travel advisory to be implemented by the governors of the three states.

Mr. Trump made the announcement on Twitter just hours after telling reporters that he was considering a quarantine of the three states in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus to Florida and other states.

Later that same night, the C.D.C. issued a formal advisory urging the residents of the three states to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.”

Trump COVID 19 Continue

March 29: the NY Times reported that President Trump said that the federal government’s guidelines for social distancing would last until April 30, backing down from his previous comments that he hoped the country could go back to work by Easter.

He had clashed with public health experts around the country when he suggested on March 24 that the guidelines — which urge people to stay at home and not to gather in groups of more than 10 — might be relaxed by April 12. His announcement  indicated that he had backed down from that suggestion.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

March 30: the NY Times reported that President Trump said that he and his advisers expected the number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus to peak around Easter, though he cited no data to back up his claim.

That’s going to be the highest point, we think, and then it’s going to start coming down from there,” Mr. Trump said during an interview on Fox & Friends. “That will be a day of celebration, and we just want to do it right so we picked the end of April.

At this point, the United States led the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

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No shortage/severe shortage

March 30: the NY Times reported that President Trump had told governors on a conference call: “I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests and we’re coming out with a faster one this week.”

Trump added, “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.” suggesting that a chronic lack of kits to screen people for the coronavirus was no longer a problem.

But governors painted a different picture on the ground.

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat, said that officials in his state were trying to do “contact tracing” — tracking down people who have come into contact with those who have tested positive — but that they were struggling because “we don’t have adequate tests,” according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times.

“Literally we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the C.D.C., that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Montana,” Mr. Bullock said.

Trump COVID 19 Continue

Previous and subsequent COVID-19 posts:

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Trump COVID 19  Begin

Steady leadership at any time is important, but especially during a crisis. In early 2020, the world slowly came to the realization that there was a new very serious coronavirus health threat, what would become known as COVID 19.

Countries were not prepared and struggled to deal with the outbreak. We all learned the phrase “flatten the curve” in reference to slowing down the pandemic’s contagious spread.

President Trump’s leadership was often lacking. He denied that there was a problem and when he could no longer deny the problem he diminished its threat and when he could no longer diminish its threat he blamed others–the media in particular as always–for the threat.

Here is a timeline of Trump and COVID 19. See my first of several COVID 19 pandemic posts for a much expanded timeline.

China origin

It was in December 2019 that the as yet unnamed deadly virus’s impact was first observed.

December 6: according to a study in The Lancet, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified was “Dec 1, 2019 . . . 5 days after illness onset, his wife, a 53-year-old woman who had no known history of exposure to the market, also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalizein the isolation ward.” In other words, as early as the second week of December, Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

December 21: Wuhan doctors begin to notice a “cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause.

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Vaping vs Coronavirus

Trump more interested in vaping

Trump COVID 19 Begins
Health and Human Services  Secretary Alex M Azar

January 18: Health and Human Services  Secretary Alex M Azar had his first discussion about the virus with President Trump. Unnamed “senior administration officials” told the Washington Post that “the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Totally Under Control

January 22: President Trump, in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.

January 24:In a tweet, Trump praised China for its efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” [NPR timeline]

Trump COVID 19 Begin

January 29: Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said, “The whole world needs to be on alert now. The whole world needs to take action and be ready for any cases that come from the epicenter or other epicenter that becomes established.” [NPR timeline]

January 29, 2020: on April 7, 2020, the NY Times reported that top White House adviser Peter Navarro had warned in a memo to Trump administration officials that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.

“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” Navarro’s memo said. “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”

The memo came during a period when Mr. Trump was playing down the risks to the United States. He later went on to say that no one could have predicted such a devastating outcome.

In one worst-case scenario cited in the memo, more than a half-million Americans could die.

WHO declaration

COVID 19 Pandemic

January 30: the World Health Organization Amid officially declared a “public health emergency of international concern.

That same day, Trump addressed the coronavirus during a speech on trade in Michigan.

We think we have it very well under control,” Trump said. “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five — and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us.”

Hopefully it won’t be as bad as some people think it could be,” he added.

And at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump talked about the U.S. partnership with China to control the disease. “We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great. They have somewhat of a problem, but hopefully, it’s all going to be great. But we’re working with China, just so you know, and other countries very, very closely. So it doesn’t get out of hand.” [NPR timeline]

January 31: Trump blocked travel from China.

February 2: Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

February 10: at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., Trump said: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that’s true. But we’re doing great in our country. China, I spoke with President Xi, and they’re working very, very hard. And I think it’s going to all work out fine.” [NPR timeline]

February 13: in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Trump characterized the threat of the virus in the U.S. by saying: “In our country, we only have, basically, 12 cases, and most of those people are recovering and some cases fully recovered. So it’s actually less.” [NPR timeline]

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Very Small

February 14: China reports that 1,716 health workers have contracted COVID-19 and that six of them have died.

Trump discussed the “very small” number of U.S. coronavirus cases with  Border Patrol Council members:

“We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield had estimated that the “virus is probably with us beyond this season and beyond this year.” Despite that view, President Trump continued to push the idea that it would be gone in a matter of weeks.

There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm, historically, that has been able to kill the virus,” he said . “So we don’t know yet. We’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner.”

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Under Control

February 23: Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, President Trump stated that  “We have it very much under control in this country.

Stock Market crashes

February 24: stock market plummeted as Dow Jones Industrials fell more than 1,000 points.

The same day, Trump asked for $1.25 billion in emergency aid. It grows to $8.3 billion in Congress.

He tweeted that the virus “is very much under control” and the stock market “starting to look very good to me!”

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Pence Put In Charge

February 26: In a news conference that day, Trump said the United States was “really prepared.”

He also said, ““When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

He put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of  the White House task force.

Trump also criticized the media and accused them of creating the crisis and that all was fine. [NPR timeline]

He added during a brief press conference: “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people,” he said. “And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”

I think every aspect of our society should be prepared,” he added later. “I don’t think it’s going to come to that, especially with the fact that we’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

February 27: the number of infections globally continued to grow. There were 3,474 cases of COVID-19 — including 54 deaths — outside of China in 44 countries.

President Trump stated, “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

Trump COVID 19 Begin

First American Death

February 29: a patient near Seattle became the first coronavirus patient to die in the United States.

While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump again claimed his administration had the coronavirus under control.

I’ve gotten to know these professionals. They’re incredible,” Trump said. “And everything is under control. I mean, they’re very, very cool. They’ve done it, and they’ve done it well. Everything is really under control.

It would be revealed later that a CPAC attendee tested positive for COVID-19, leading multiple Republican lawmakers who came into contact with him to self-quarantine.

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Previous COVID-19 posts: