Trump made false claims on COVID-19, fracking and more this week. Here are the facts | National politics




Virus Outbreak Washington Daily Life

A person with MoveOn.org Political Action protests the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in the White House, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)




TRUMP: “I’m immune … It could be a lifetime.” — interview Sunday on Fox News.

TRUMP: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it.” — tweet Sunday.

THE FACTS: That’s far from certain, and Twitter later flagged his tweet with a fact-check warning.

Some medical experts have been skeptical that Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early in the course of his illness. Nor can he be completely assured of immunity following his illness.

Trump was referring to a memo released Saturday by the White House in which Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley said Trump met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk. The memo did not declare Trump had tested negative for the virus.

Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist and department chairman at the Yale School of Public Health, said the White House appeared to be following CDC guidelines for when it is appropriate to end isolation after mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

But Ko cautioned that those who have had severe cases of the diseases should isolate for 20 days, not just 10 days as Trump has done. He noted that Trump was treated with the steroid dexamethasone, which is normally reserved for patients with severe COVID-19.

Dr. Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the doctor’s letter does not provide enough information to be confident that Trump can no longer infect others. He said Trump’s use of steroids could prolong viral shedding so the CDC’s 10-day standard may not be enough.

As to immunity, while there’s evidence that reinfection is unlikely for at least three months even for those with a mild case of COVID-19, very few diseases leave people completely immune for life. Antibodies are only one piece of the body’s defenses, and they naturally wane over time.

“Certainly it’s presumptuous to say it’s a lifetime,” Ko said.


TRUMP, on the pandemic: “It’s going to disappear; it is disappearing.” — remarks Saturday.

THE FACTS: There is no sign the virus is “disappearing,” or “rounding a corner” as he sometimes puts it, despite Trump’s repeated assertions since first making the claim in February, over 214,000 deaths ago. And it’s certainly not what his top health advisers say.



APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Trump

President Donald Trump removes his face mask to speak from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)




“I’m sorry but I have to disagree with that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, said last month, when the U.S. was seeing 40,000 cases a day. The U.S. is now seeing over 57,000 new cases daily, with spikes in numerous states.

Trump made the claim as he and several of his aides seek to recover from the coronavirus following a potential superspreader event last month where Trump announced his nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court. More than two dozen people in attendance that day have since contracted the virus. Trump now plans to return to the campaign trail Monday, and officials have signaled Trump’s intention to travel nearly every day for the rest of the campaign.

Fauci has cautioned that people should not underestimate the pandemic and they will “need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy.” He and other health experts, such as Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC, have warned of a potentially bad fall because of dual threats of the coronavirus and the flu season.


TRUMP, on those who get COVID-19: “Now what happens is you get better. That’s what happens, you get better.” — to Fox Business on Thursday.

THE FACTS: As a blanket assurance, that is obviously false. Most people get better. But more than 1 million people worldwide have died from the disease, more than 214,000 of them in the U.S. The disease also may leave many people with long-term harm that is not fully understood.

Trump’s doctor, Dr. Sean Conley, says Trump was showing no evidence of his illness progressing or adverse reactions to the aggressive course of therapy prescribed by his doctors. That doesn’t mean he is over it.



APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Trump

President Donald Trump stands on the balcony outside of the Blue Room as returns to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)





TRUMP, on the experimental antibodies he was administered: “We have a cure. … I can tell you, it’s a cure and I’m talking to you today because of it.” — speaking to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show by phone Friday.

THE FACTS: We don’t have a cure. His statement is premature at best and may raise false hope. And his present condition cannot be pinned on a particular medicine in the combination of drugs he has been given.

Antibody drugs like the one Trump was given are among the most promising therapies being tested for treating and preventing coronavirus infections. But the medicines are still in testing; their safety and effectiveness are not yet known.

Trump was among fewer than 10 people who were able to access the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals drug without having to enroll in a study. Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are both asking the U.S. government to allow emergency use of their antibody drugs, which aim to help the immune system clear the virus.

Trump has routinely made too much of promising developments in the pandemic and given weight to bogus theories about how to prevent and treat the disease while dismissing the importance of true preventives such as wearing a mask and staying away from groups of people.


TRUMP: “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: He’s contradicting science and himself.

First, he’s overstating the U.S. death toll from the seasonal flu. The flu has killed 12,000 to 61,000 Americans annually since 2010, not 100,000, a benchmark rarely reached in U.S. history. More than 214,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.

Second, health officials widely agree that the coronavirus seems to be at least several times more lethal than seasonal flu. At one point, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told Congress it could be as much as 10 times more lethal.

“There’s absolutely no doubt, no doubt at all, that this COVID-19 … is far more serious than a seasonal flu, no doubt about that,” Fauci told MSNBC last week.

Trump’s tweet also flies in the face of what he told author Bob Woodward in February, that the virus was even more deadly than “your strenuous flus,” even while suggesting publicly that the pandemic was akin to the flu season. “This is deadly stuff,” he told the author.

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