In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump tried to portray the current state of the coronavirus crisis in the United States in a positive light, implying that the disease would soon be disappearing on its own, without scientific evidence backing his claim.
Although he said a vaccine was close to being developed, he also suggested the need for one wouldn’t be that strong by the time it would be fully developed and available.
“We’re very close to a vaccine and we’re very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics,” Trump said. “But even without that, I don’t even like to talk about that, because it’s fading away, it’s going to fade away, but having a vaccine would be really nice and that’s going to happen.”
The president’s comments, however, run counter to what the latest numbers on COVID-19 show.
The U.S. continues to see approximately 20,000 new coronavirus cases on a daily basis. On the day Trump gave his interview to Fox News, there were more than 26,000 new cases reported in the country, a number that’s similar to what was seen on April 1.
As of Thursday morning, there have been 2.2 million cases of coronavirus reported in the U.S., with nearly 120,000 deaths being counted as well.
Trump’s assertions that COVID-19 could “fade away” are not correct according to Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Last week, Fauci said that the disease won’t “burn itself out” even “with mere public health measures” in place.
“In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world. And it isn’t over yet,” he added.
Trump isn’t the only person in the White House wrongly asserting that things are getting better. While discussing Trump’s upcoming campaign event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that the state had seen a decline in new coronavirus cases, when in fact both Oklahoma and Tulsa County have seen increases in daily numbers, with the latter reporting a 304 percent increase in daily cases over the course of the past two weeks.
In fact, only three states across the country are seeing meaningful improvements in their numbers. COVID Act Now, a nonprofit organization made up of technologists, epidemiologists, and other health experts, announced on Wednesday that only New York, New Jersey, and Michigan were “on track” to containing the disease.
Michigan in particular — a state whose residents the president had encouraged to defy stay-at-home orders issued by their Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — is given the best ranking among all 50 states.
“Cases are steadily decreasing and Michigan’s COVID preparedness meets or exceeds international standards across our key metrics,” the organization said, citing low new infection rates, a high number of testing locations, and sufficient contact tracing efforts.