On Thursday, President Donald Trump denied reports that he downplayed the severity of COVID-19. The allegations were made after Trump’s series of interviews with journalist Bob Woodward were released to the public.

When asked by a reporter, “why did you lie to the American people,” Trump responded, “I didn’t lie. What I said was we have to be calm. We can’t be panicked.”

On February 7, Trump told Woodward about his meeting with Chinese President Xi JinPing and their discussions regarding the deadliness of the coronavirus. He emphasized how the virus is “more deadly” than a “strenuous flu” because it “goes through air.”

But, on February 10, the president spoke at an event and reassured the public that the U.S. was “in great shape” and the virus would eventually go away “as the heat comes in.”

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Trump said to Woodward, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create panic.”

On September 10, the president announced that the U.S. has “rounded the final turn” of the pandemic in addition to his promising of a vaccine by the end of the year.

The nation’s foremost infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks otherwise. Fauci warned, “We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy.” Other public health experts agree that flu season may worsen the pandemic.

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