Best Coronavirus Advice? Don't Listen to Trump - Rolling Stone
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Ignore Everything Trump Says About Coronavirus

The president told Sean Hannity that people are getting over the virus by “sitting around” and “going to work”

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House for the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center in Washington, DC, USA, 03 March 2020. Trump spoke about his administration's response to the coronavirus. The president also spoke about the Democratic primary and Super Tuesday voting.Trump heads to National Institutes of Health for coronavirus briefing, Washington, USA - 03 Mar 2020

President Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House for the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center in Washington, D.C, on March 3rd, 2020.

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shuttersto

President Trump has found himself in a vexing situation as he struggles to grapple with coronavirus, which is now spreading throughout the United States. If this were a normal crisis, he would stress to Americans that everything is fine, his administration is handling it better than any other administration could have ever dreamed, and everyone should proceed to shower him with praise.

But unlike hurricanes, trade disputes, or threats of nuclear annihilation from murderous dictators, coronavirus is in the United States right now, it’s getting worse, and the population’s health is at stake. So is the health of the stock market, which Trump indicated is his primary concern in a February tweet in which he also claimed coronavirus is “very much under control.”

As of Wednesday, 160 people in at least 17 states have been infected, while 11 have died.

As the the tally continues to climb, Trump’s trusty “we’ve got it taken care of” line is losing its effectiveness, even for someone who built a political carer around imploring Americans to ignore reality in favor of his make-believe appraisal of what’s happening in the country. This has forced Trump to pivot to a different — but no less familiar — strategy: spewing absolute nonsense to potentially damaging effect.

On Wednesday night, the president called into Fox News to put the nation’s mind at ease. In an effort to do so, he reeled off a breathtaking two-minute daisy chain of false claims about the virus, including that it’s so benign that infected Americans should keep going into work.

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Let’s unpack what’s happening here:

  • Trump says the World Health Organization’s report that the global death rate for coronavirus is 3.4 percent is a “false” number. “This is just my hunch,” the president continued. He later estimated the “number is way under 1 percent.”
  • Trump says the virus is “very mild” and that “people are getting better very rapidly,” implying that if these people were taken into account in reports of how many people are infected, the death rate would be far lower.
  • Trump calls the coronavirus the “corona flu.”
  • Trump says many of those infected get better just by “you know, sitting around” and “going to work.”
  • Trump goes on a tangent about how many people die from the common flu, suggesting that because tens of thousands of people died from the flu every year, making the death rate “under 1 percent very substantially,” the death rate for the coronavirus must be similarly small.

Trump clearly has no idea what he’s talking about, and every American would be wise to categorically dismiss anything that comes out of his mouth regarding the coronavirus. He’s only concerned with it so far as it will affect his ability to win reelection this fall, and he will do or say anything to ensure it doesn’t. On Thursday morning, he took to Twitter to defend his hunch-based musings the night before, taking dead aim at … Comcast.

He proceeded to tweet some praise of how he’s handled the situation from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) before essentially stacking the toll the virus has taken in the U.S. against the toll it’s taken in China, where it originated.

So as you scrub your hands raw and try your hardest to keep from touching your face, something millions of Americans are realizing is way, way harder than it seems, just take solace in the fact that Trump — who spent Thursday morning bashing the Fake News, “criminal” immigrants, and Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren — is “working very hard” to prevent an outbreak.

On second thought, maybe that’s not such a good thing.

In This Article: coronavirus, Donald Trump

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