In Change Of Tone, Trump Says COVID-19 Crisis ‘Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better,’ Finally Endorses Masks
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump held the first coronavirus briefing since April and admitted the pandemic is likely to worsen before improving. He repeated false claims that the country has done “much better” than others.
“It will get worse before it gets better,” Trump said. “That’s something I don’t like saying but it is.”
Trump changed his tone markedly after months of downplaying the severity of the pandemic when he said “99 percent” of cases were “totally harmless” and claiming the statistics showed a high number of cases only due to the high number of tests conducted.
Trump made his first public endorsement of masks, admitting he was “getting used to” wearing one, while he previously questioned the efficiency of masks.
“We’re asking everybody when you’re not able to socially distance to wear a mask,” Trump said. He added: “Whether you like masks or not, wear a mask.”
Despite admitting the severity of the coronavirus crisis, Trump still attempted to paint an optimistic picture, saying that the U.S. was doing “much better” than in other countries. The comment comes as the U.S. reports around 70,000 cases a day, while European countries have seen an increase of only hundreds of daily new cases.
“Our case fatality rate has continued to decline and is lower than the European Union and almost everywhere else in the world,” Trump said. “If you watch American television, you’d think the United States was the only country involved with and suffering from the China virus. Well, the world is suffering very badly.”
He added: “We’ve done much better than most. And with the fatality rate lower than most, it’s something we can talk about.”
Trump then showed a chart showcasing fatality rates, showing European countries ahead of the U.S. However, by repeating his claim that America had the lowest mortality rate in the world, Trump presented a misleading claim. John Hopkins University data, which measures the death rates per capita, reports that the U.S. has scored 10th place after San Marino, Belgium, the U.K., Andorra, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Chile and France. Using the per capita measurement, instead of case fatality rate chart used by the president, U.S. shows statistics of 43.07 deaths per 100,000 residents, while Brazil has suffered 38.25 and in Germany, there have been only 10.97.
He also repeated his claim that he recently used in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, saying that the virus will eventually “disappear.”
“I’ll be right eventually,” he said in that interview. “It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right.”
Trump announced Monday he was reintroducing public coronavirus briefings after suspending them April. The briefings will be held a few times a week.