Trump's FDA commissioner won't defend the president's baseless claim that 99% of COVID-19 cases are 'totally harmless'
The head of the Food and Drug Administration on Sunday dodged questions on President Donald Trump's baseless claim that 99% of COVID-19 cases are "totally harmless." "I'm not going to get into who's right and who is wrong," Dr. Stephen Hahn said during a CNN interview. Coronavirus cases are surging in the US, which has the highest number of confirmed cases and reported fatalities in the world. Trump has made a plethora of false and misleading claims on COVID-19, while repeatedly downplaying the threat of the virus, which has killed nearly 130,000 people in the US.
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Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn on Sunday would neither defend nor explicitly contradict President Donald Trump's baseless assertion that 99% of COVID-19 cases are "totally harmless." On CNN's "State of the Union," host Dana Bash said she couldn't find a single health expert to back-up Trump's assertion, asking Hahn for his take. "We know that cases are surging in the country," Hahn said. "The way out of this for all Americans is to follow the CDC and the White House task force guidelines. Social distance, wear a mask if you find yourself in a situation where you can't social distance, good hand hygiene ... and if you're near someone who's vulnerable, and you think you've been exposed, please take care and avoid exposing that person." Bash continued to press Hahn on the president's unsubstantiated claim that 99% are "harmless," noting that data from the Center's for Disease Control and Prevention show only about one-third of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic. She also pointed to the fact the World Health Organization has said about 20% of people with coronavirus are "sick enough to need oxygen or hospital care." "It's not true," Bash said of Trump's assertion. "This is really important, probably one of the most important misclaims or, frankly, lies that the president has put out there," Bash added. "It really affects people's health. If they hear the president saying 99% of people are fine — they're going to change their behavior, potentially get sick, infect other people." When asked how that made Hahn feel as a member of the White House coronavirus task force, the FDA chief said: "We absolutely must take this seriously, we must institute these public health measures, we cannot back off from those. It's critically important for Americans to follow those guidelines and to protect the most vulnerable." Refusing to let up, Bash then flatly asked Hahn if Trump was "wrong" to say 99% of cases are "totally harmless." "I'm not going to get into who's right and who is wrong," Hahn said in response.
“I’m not going to get into who’s right and who is wrong,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn says when pressed about the misleading claim President Trump made — that 99% of coronavirus cases in America are "totally harmless" https://t.co/P3rgUzC3Fq #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/m9jU8QKYQ3 — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 5, 2020
During a July 4th celebration in Washington, DC, on Saturday, Trump said: "Now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless. 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." Trump has made a slew of false or baseless statements on the coronavirus pandemic since it began months ago and repeatedly embellished America's testing capacity while falsely claiming that the recent surge in cases is due to increased testing. Speaking of the alarming uptick in cases last week, Assistant Health Secretary Brett Giroir, the coronavirus testing czar, said, "We do believe this is a real increase in cases because the percent positivities are going up. So, this is real increases in cases." "I think it's pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said on Thursday regarding the spread of COVID-19 in the US. The president spent weeks downplaying the threat of the virus in the early days of the outbreak, and he's been excoriated by many of the nation's leading health experts over his handling of the virus. In late February, Trump told Americans the number of cases in the US would be "close to zero" in a couple of days. At the time, top public health officials were warning that cases would go up, urging Americans to prepare for severe disruptions to daily life. In April, Trump suggested that people could inject household disinfectants to cure the virus, prompting bleach manufacturers to warn Americans against injecting or ingesting their products under any circumstances. Medical experts condemned Trump's comments as irresponsible and dangerous. As of Sunday morning, there were over 2.8 million reported cases of COVID-19 in the US, alongside almost 130,000 confirmed fatalities, per Johns Hopkins. A vaccine is widely viewed as the surest path toward defeating the virus. In another Sunday morning interview with ABC's "This Week," Hahn declined to back-up Trump's claim that a vaccine would be ready "long before the end of the year." "I can't predict when a vaccine will be available," Hahn said.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America
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President says he is ending discussions until after electionWhat we know and what we don’t about...President says he is ending discussions until after electionWhat we know and what we don’t about Trump’s healthContagious Trump removes mask for photos on hospital returnBiden reminds Trump face covering is to protect othersAt least 39,000 new cases and 460 new Covid deaths reported in USSign up for Fight to Vote – our weekly US election newsletter 11.17pm BST Dr Rick Bright, the senior government scientist who said he was demoted from his role heading a federal agency in charge of vaccines this spring, has resigned from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In an addendum to a whistleblower complaint that Bright filed in May, his lawyers say NIH colleagues rejected his recommendations to scale up Covid-19 testing “because of political considerations” and because of fears that the “Trump administration would not approve a plan that called for broad-based testing of asymptomatic people.” 10.56pm BST Donald Trump’s election campaign may claim the president has beaten Covid-19, but it fell foul of the NFL’s copyright rules on Tuesday.The campaign tweeted a video of the San Francisco 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk leaping over a Philadelphia Eagles defender on his way to scoring a touchdown during Sunday’s game between the two teams. The campaign superimposed Trump’s head on Aiyuk’s body with Covid-19 as the Eagles defender. The video was a reference to the president’s release from hospital after treatment for Covid-19. He also told Americans that they shouldn’t be “afraid of Covid”, a virus that has killed more than 200,000 people in the US. Continue reading...
President Donald Trump is prepared to deliver news of a "major therapeutic breakthrough" for the novel...President Donald Trump is prepared to deliver news of a "major therapeutic breakthrough" for the novel coronavirus on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a tweet late Saturday. The president yesterday took aim at the Food and Drug Administration, claiming that the agency was part of a conspiracy to slow down vaccine trials until after the November election. McEnany said FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar would attend the president's announcement. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump is prepared to present news of a "major therapeutic breakthrough" for treating the coronavirus, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed in a tweet late Saturday. "News conference with President @realDonaldTrump at 6 pm tomorrow concerning a major therapeutic breakthrough on the China Virus," McEnany said in a tweet at 11:21 p.m, adding that Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn were both expected to join the president later Sunday. According to a Sunday tally from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have so far been more than 5.6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and at least 174,645 deaths from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As the race for a vaccine continues in the US and around the globe, Trump has grown frustrated with the FDA, claiming in a Saturday tweet the agency was part of a "deep state" conspiracy and was "making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics." "Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd," he said in the Saturday tweet. News conference with President @realDonaldTrump at 6 pm tomorrow concerning a major therapeutic breakthrough on the China Virus. Secretary Azar and Dr. Hahn will be in attendance. — Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) August 23, 2020 In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended the president's attacks on the FDA, blaming agency bureaucrats. "We're not going to cut corners in any kind of research we can do, but what we will do is cut the red tape," he said, as reported by Axios. "And what the president was specifically addressing was something that I've been involved with over the last three or four weeks, is a real frustration with some of the bureaucrats to think that they can just do this the way they normally do it." While there has been no vaccine or COVID-19 cure, doctors have found varying degrees of success in recent months using Remdesivir, which is currently the only FDA-approved drug to treat COVID-19. Trump for months has touted hydroxychloroquine as both a treatment and preventative measure for the novel coronavirus, despite a lack of scientific evidence to support his claims.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
Trump reportedly changed his coronavirus messaging after being told new cases were spiking among 'our people' in red states
President Trump's attempted pivot to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously is partly driven by advisers showing...President Trump's attempted pivot to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously is partly driven by advisers showing him increased cases in red states and swing states, the Washington Post reported. The Post said that in recent weeks advisers "began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among 'our people' in Republican states." In light of both the worsening state of the outbreak and its implications for his political fortunes, Trump has taken some measures to admit that the virus is a serious problem. Voters continue to disapprove of Trump's handling of the pandemic by double-digit margins and Trump trails Democratic nominee former VP Joe Biden both nationally and in several key swing states. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump's attempts to project more somber messaging on the COVID-19 pandemic were motivated in part by data showing death rates rising in states critical to his reelection chances, the Washington Post reported Monday. In examining Trump's months of failing to take the virus seriously, the Post reported that in recent weeks, "senior advisers began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among 'our people' in Republican states" and warned that cases and deaths are now steadily rising again in Midwestern states crucial to Trumps' re-election, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, in addition to the serious outbreaks in Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Michigan is reporting a seven-day average of 688 new cases per day, Wisconsin is reporting a seven-day average of 900 new cases, and Minnesota is reporting an average of over 700 new cases per day, according to data compiled by The New York Times. As of Monday, there are currently over 4.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 146,000 confirmed deaths in the United States. Voters continue to disapprove of Trump's handling of the pandemic by double-digit margins and Trump trails Democratic nominee former VP Joe Biden both nationally and in several key swing states. In light of both the worsening state of the outbreak and its implications for his political fortunes, Trump has taken some measures to admit that the virus is a serious problem. He has resumed regular briefings at the White House, where he acknowledged last week that the pandemic will get worse before it improves, and on July 11, he wore a mask in public for the first time, three months after the Centers for Disease Control began recommending face coverings. In a statement to the Post, a White House spokeswoman defended Trump's "historic, whole-of-America coronavirus response" and said his "message has been consistent and his strong leadership will continue as we safely reopen the economy." Despite those overtures, however, Trump continues to spread misinformation about the virus and has not yet taken responsibility for months of discrediting mask-wearing as a sign of disrespect towards him, pressuring states to re-open their economies, and downplaying the severity of the pandemic. In a July 19 interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, Trump continued to falsely claim that the current surge in COVID-19 cases is driven by a rise in testing and that 99% of cases are harmless. He also insisted that the virus will still "disappear," said many new cases are from people who just have "the sniffles," and misleadingly claimed that the United States has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. SEE ALSO: Trump finally admits COVID-19 is a serious problem, just not his problem Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 7 secrets about Washington, DC landmarks you probably didn't know