President Donald Trump finally responded to the U.S. hitting the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths calling it ‘a shame’ after ignoring the question when a reporter first asked him about it.
Trump, leaving the White House Tuesday for a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania rally, was asked by a female reporter why he hadn’t commented on the 200,000-plus death count.
The president leaned in to listen, with Marine One’s engine humming in the background, and once the reporter asked her question louder he moved on. ‘Go ahead, uhhh, anybody else?’ the president said.
Then another reporter asked him the same thing. ‘I think it’s a shame,’ Trump then responded.
‘If we didn’t do it properly and didn’t do it right, you’d have two and a half million deaths.’
The president was using an estimate of how many would die from the coronavirus had no precautions – such as mask-wearing, closures and social distancing – been. taken.
He then continued to blast China for releasing the virus.
‘They should never let this spread all over the world and it’s a terrible thing,’ Trump said, pointing reporters to taped remarks he made before the United Nations General Assembly earlier Tuesday.
Trump’s rival, Democrat Joe Biden, made repeated references to the nation crossing the 200,000 throughout the day.
President Donald Trump seemed to ignore a question about 200,000 American coronavirus deaths, but after a second reporter asked, he called it ‘a shame,’ suggested the death toll could have been worse and blamed China
‘200,000 Americans have died from this virus. It’s a staggering number that’s hard to wrap your head around,’ wrote former Vice President Joe Biden on Twitter as the nation crossed the threshold
Biden tweeted out a large image of the number 200,000 with white on black, writing: ‘It didn’t have to be this bad.’
The image contained the number of dead listed state-by-state.
In another missive, Biden wrote: ‘200,000 Americans have died from this virus. It’s a staggering number that’s hard to wrap your head around. But behind every COVID-19 death is a family and community that will never again be the same. There’s a devastating human toll to this pandemic — and we can’t forget that.’
His comments came as media organizations around the country began marking the milestone.
At the White House, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blasted reporters who asked about Trump’s comments at a rally Monday night that ‘It affects virtually nobody,’ adding: ‘It’s an amazing thing.”
‘It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects. That’s it,’ Trump said, noting the disease primarily hits the elderly and those with preexisting conditions – a huge number of Americans.
Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted about the 200,000 milestone Tuesday
‘Today is dark, but we will overcome this,’ Biden wrote
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany reread some of Trump’s comments and said they was ‘factually true’ and pointed to several states with zero pediatric deaths
‘You know, in some states, thousands of people, nobody young [dies of the disease]. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows?’ he continued. ‘You look – take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.’
Then Trump added a political rejoinder: ‘By the way, open your schools, everybody. Open your schools,’ he said.
Pressed on the comments, McEnany said: ‘The president is telling people the truth.’
She accused CNN’s Jim Acosta of taking the comments ‘out of context’ – although he noted that he had referenced that Trump was talking about young people when he made the comment.
‘The president is telling people the truth,’ she said. She told Acosta: ‘ You’re right that he was referring to young people. You are taking it out of context.’ He countered that children can still get sick form the disease and spread it in the community.
McEnany reread some of Trump’s comments and said they were ‘factually true’ and pointed to several states with zero pediatric deaths.
‘COVID has a .01 per cent mortality for people under the age of 18. So it is not a disease that affects young people in the same way as older people, which is the exact point the president was making last night,’ she said.
Speaking to the 200,000 death toll, she pointed to an early model that showed ‘the prospect of 2 million people potentially perishing.’
‘The fact that we have come nowhere near that number is a testament to this president taking immediate action,’ she said.
‘We grieve when even one life is lost,’ she said.
More than 200,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19 – a bleak milestone reached on Tuesday that comes even as the national death rate continues to decline.
The number of Americans dying from coronavirus per day, based on a weekly average, is now at just over 760.
It is down from the peak 2,000 deaths being reported per day back in April.
While deaths continue to decline across the country, fatalities related to COVID-19 are a lagging indicator and can potentially rise several weeks after new cases.
The national infection rate started increasing just over a week ago, which is a rise health experts have attributed to some schools reopening and parties over the Labor Day holiday.
The average number of COVID-19 cases being reported per day is now at just under 40,000 with total infection in the US topping 6.8 million.
The number of Americans dying from coronavirus per day, based on a weekly average, is now at just over 760. It is down from the peak 2,000 deaths being reported per day back in April
Before this uptick, cases, on average, had been trending downwards nationally since July when about 70,000 infections were being reported daily.
California, Texas and Florida – the three most populous US states – have recorded the most coronavirus infections and have long surpassed the state of New York, which was the epicenter of the outbreak earlier this year.
The southern states of Texas and Florida contributed the most deaths in the US in the past two weeks and were closely followed by California.
Deaths in those three states are currently declining.
The states that saw the largest increases in deaths in the last week were Arkansas, Kansas and Virginia.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is predicting that deaths will rise to more 378,000 by the end of the year.
The model forecasts that more than 114,000 lives could be saved if the majority of Americans wear masks but epidemiologists have already warned that mask-wearing is already declining across the country.
The national infection rate started increasing just over a week ago. The average number of COVID-19 cases being reported per day is now at just under 40,000 with total infection in the US topping 6.8 million
The death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current daily death rate to to 3,000 per day in December.
During the early months of the pandemic, 200,000 deaths was regarded by many as the maximum number of lives likely to be lost in the United States to the virus.
‘The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, in some respects stunning,’ Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNN.
President Donald Trump on Monday said he had done a phenomenal job on the pandemic.
‘It affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing,’ Trump told supporters at a Swanton, Ohio, campaign rally Monday night.
‘It affects… elderly people with heart problems and other problems – if they have other problems that’s what it really affects, that’s it.’
Trump has admitted to playing down the danger of the coronavirus early on because he did not want to ‘create a panic.’