Trump knew Covid-19 was deadly before it hit the country but wanted to play down the crisis, according to a new book. Bob Woodward, a journalist, interviewed President Trump 18 times from December to July. Trump is quoted as telling him the virus was “deadly stuff” before the first US death was confirmed.
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In response to the book, Trump said he had wanted to avoid causing national panic over the virus.
Around 190,000 Americans have died in relation to Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, some US media released parts of the interviews between the president and the journalist, revealing his reported remarks on the outbreak as well as race and other issues.
Trump indicated that he knew more about the severity of the illness than he had revealed publicly. According to a tape of the call, Trump told Woodward in February that the coronavirus was deadlier than the flu.
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“It goes through the air,” Trump told the author on 7 February.
“That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed.
“And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. Trump knew COVID-19 was deadlier than the flu.
Later that month, Trump promised the virus was “very much under control”, and that the case count would soon be close to zero. He also publicly implied the flu was more dangerous than Covid-19.