Top line

In the closing remarks of his presidency on Wednesday, former President Donald Trump briefly mentioned perhaps the most important issue of his term – the Covid-19 pandemic – and again referred to it as the “China virus”, indicating his tendency towards the deadly one Illness in the final months of his presidency, even as the US marked over 400,000 deaths from the virus.

President Donald Trump silences journalists before signing the Paycheck Protection Program … [+] Flexibility Act in the Rose Garden at the White House June 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

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Key factors

Trump made his farewell speech from Joint Base Andrews, referring to Covid-19 only once. He said we had to “pay our respects” to those “who have suffered so badly from the China virus” before we finally acknowledged the need to be “very,” very careful. ”

Despite Trump’s insistence that the media focused solely on the pandemic ahead of the 2020 election to undermine his election campaign, more than 172,500 Americans have been killed by the virus since November 3, with over 100,000 of those deaths in the USA occurred in the past 36 days alone.

On Tuesday, Trump’s last full day in office, the US reached another major milestone when the confirmed coronavirus death toll exceeded 400,000.

January is well on the way to becoming the deadliest month of the pandemic yet. The US recorded more than 4,400 deaths last Tuesday, the most ever recorded by any nation in a single 24-hour period.

Key background:

Trump’s frequent downplaying or downright dismal virus has resulted in a large number of deaths “that could have been avoided,” according to medical experts. In early October, even after becoming infected and wiping out more than 210,000 lives from the virus, Trump tweeted: “Don’t be afraid of Covid.” On October 27th, Trump tweeted: “By November 4th … all fake new media want to talk about Covid, Covid, Covid,” adding that “we’re rounding the turnaround.” The US was, of course, going in exactly the opposite direction; In fact, far more coronavirus cases have been reported in the country since election day (14.7 million) than in the first nine months of the pandemic overall (9.6 million). In the days and weeks after the election, when the virus did not go away, the president largely ignored it. During the six-week period from November 3 to December 16, Trump tweeted 729 times and never spoke once about Covid’s rising death toll. Of those 700+ tweets, nearly 70% were due to unsubstantiated election fraud claims and his illegal attempts to reverse the election results. According to reporter Dave Gilson, only 2% of his post-election tweets mentioned coronavirus.


Trump admitted to reporter Bob Woodward in early February that he knew the coronavirus was “more deadly than even your stressful flu,” but spent weeks comparing Covid-19 to the flu, claiming he was “always trying to downplay” it. At a press conference on February 26, the president told the American people that Covid-19 “is like the flu. It’s a bit like the flu that we have flu vaccinations for.” The next day he said the virus would “go away. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will go away.”

Crucial quote:

“That’s all I hear about now. That’s all I hear. Turn on the TV – ‘Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid.’ A plane crashes. Five hundred people are dead, they don’t talk about it, “Trump told his supporters at a rally in Lumberton, North Carolina on October 24, two weeks before the election. “Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. By the way, you won’t hear about it on November 4th.”

Surprising fact:

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the 400,000 deaths from Covid-19 are more deaths than the number of U.S. soldiers who died in battle during World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.

Big number:

1-in-820. With more than 400,000 fatalities, that means the coronavirus killed one in 820 Americans.

Further reading:

Trump always compared Covid-19 to the flu, even after knowing Covid-19 was far more deadly (Forbes)

Trump claims he downplayed coronavirus to keep Americans calm. Here are the many times he’s tried to panic. (Forbes)

Trump Claims Doctors Count Covid-19 Deaths To Make More Money; Doctors groups say otherwise (Forbes)

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