Trump learned of a memo in January warning 'half a million American souls' could die of coronavirus, and he was displeased his adviser put it in writing
President Donald Trump was informed in late January of a memo written by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, warning that 'half a million American souls' could die of coronavirus, The New York Times reported Saturday. Trump has denied he saw the memo at the time. The Times also reported that Trump was displeased that Navarro had put the information in writing. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump was reportedly told as early as January about a memo written by one of his advisers that warned of mass death in the United States from a coronavirus outbreak, though he has denied that he saw the memo at the time. In a damning profile of the White House's actions leading up to the US's coronavirus outbreak, The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump did indeed learn of the January 29 memo written by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro. The memo reportedly included a warning that up to 30% of the US population could be infected, and the death toll could be "on the order of a half a million American souls."
Navarro had also urged in the memo to limit travel from China, then the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Trump implemented a travel ban shortly after. "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 US soil," Mr. 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." According to The Times, aides discussed the memo with Trump, and he was displeased Navarro put the information in writing. Navarro also wrote a second memo on February 23 warning that up to "1 [to] 2 million souls" could die of the virus, according to Axios. Just one day later, Trump tweeted that the coronavirus was "very much under control in the USA."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope
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As the US sees record-high surges in coronavirus cases, the White House is seeking to undercut...As the US sees record-high surges in coronavirus cases, the White House is seeking to undercut the country's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has criticized the US response to the virus. White House trade advisor Peter Navarro penned an op-ed for USA Today Tuesday attacking Fauci and saying the infectious disease expert "has been wrong about everything" — from mask wearing to using hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. As a director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has offered science-based advice to Americans amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, which has at times been opposed by individuals in the White House. While the White House has urged states to reopen their economies amid the pandemic, Fauci has painted a much darker picture of the reality of the virus, calling it his "worst nightmare." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Anti-China trade adviser has become the face of the White House's criticism of the country's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. White House trade advisor Peter Navarro penned an op-ed for USA Today Tuesday attacking Fauci, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force. The op-ed largely repeats what Navarro has previously said to other publications. Navarro, who has no public health expertise, wrote that Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "has been wrong about everything," claiming the White House and public health officials have been at odds over a number of issues, including stopping flights from China at the end of January. Navarro also said Fauci was "flip-flopping" on his use of face masks to mitigate the spread of the virus. Fauci had explained that he discouraged the use of face masks at the beginning of the pandemic to reserve the little supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the national stockpile at the time for healthcare professionals at the frontlines. Though he believes that face masks won't completely prevent transmission, Fauci now encourages the use of face masks — at the very least, cloth facial coverings — to contain viral particles that could be present in an individual's saliva, adding that social distancing is paramount to impede infection. The infectious disease expert remains optimistic about the timeline of a coronavirus vaccine within the coming year, though he has cautioned people against relying on hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malaria drug — as a coronavirus treatment given a lack of sufficient evidence of its effectiveness. In the op-ed, Navarro claimed he showed Fauci "scientific studies providing evidence of safety and efficacy," despite a number of health experts saying it is still too soon to tell if the drug can safely treat the coronavirus. President Donald Trump also supported hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, even so far as to take it himself as a "preventative measure." Coronavirus whistleblower and vaccine scientist Dr. Rick Bright also discouraged the use of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. He claimed in his whistleblower complaint that he was ousted from his top position at the Department of Health and Human Services because he refused to tout the drug as a treatment. Now, as the US sees record-high surges in coronavirus cases, the White House has encouraged states to reopen without a comprehensive coronavirus testing and contact tracing infrastructure — a vital component to reopening the country safely, according to health experts. Though seemingly unphased by the rising cases, as Trump referred to the rising cases as "embers" to be stamped out, Fauci has painted a much darker picture, calling the current situation of the pandemic his "worst nightmare." "Now we have something that turned out to be my worst nightmare," he said. "In the period of four months, it has devastated the world." Trump has attempted to assure Americans that the US by reiterating the low mortality rate of the virus. "Now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless," Trump said. "Results that no other country can show because no other country has the testing that we have, not in terms of the numbers or in terms of quality." Navarro echoed the point in his op-ed, calling the lower mortality rate "the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening." "The lower the mortality rate, the faster and more we can open," he wrote. In stark contrast, the infectious disease expert said that taking "comfort" in the lower death rate could promote a "false narrative" on the development of the pandemic. "There's so many other things that are very dangerous and very bad about this virus," Fauci said. "Don't get yourself into false complacency."SEE ALSO: Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed Fauci is 'wrong about everything,' as the White House seeks to discredit him on COVID-19 Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, quickly walked back his remarks, which caused markets to...Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, quickly walked back his remarks, which caused markets to dive.
Trade adviser also claims without foundation that the virus ‘was a product of the Chinese Communist...Trade adviser also claims without foundation that the virus ‘was a product of the Chinese Communist party’White House adviser Peter Navarro claimed Donald Trump was being “tongue-in-cheek” when he claimed to have asked public health officials to slow down coronavirus testing. Related: Donald Trump sows division and promises 'greatness' at Tulsa rally flop Continue reading...