Coronavirus live updates: Trump falsely claims that virus ‘affects virtually nobody’ under 18
September 22, 2020 at 12:19 AM EDT
Trump says he, not Biden, will ‘end the pandemic’ if elected in November
In remarks at a rally in Swanton, Ohio, on Monday night, Trump declared that the course of the coronavirus pandemic will hinge on the results of the November election, arguing that he — not Biden — is the candidate best poised to protect the country.
The pandemic has claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 people in the United States since February, and Trump has come under blistering criticism for his handling of the crisis.
“On November 3rd, Ohio will decide whether we end the pandemic and return to record prosperity, or whether we allow sleepy Joe Biden and his group of incompetents to delay the vaccine [and] shut down the country,” Trump told supporters.
Biden has advocated that any vaccine be equitably distributed and that its development be free from political pressure. Contrary to Trump’s claim, he has not said the vaccine should be delayed.
The president also claimed, incorrectly, that the virus mainly affects older people with heart problems — contradicting what he told Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward in an interview in March.
“Now we know it,” Trump said Monday night in Ohio. “It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That’s what it really affects.”
He added: “In some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? 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.”
In a March 19 call with Woodward, Trump acknowledged that he had publicly played down the risk posed by the virus and said it affects “plenty of young people” as well as the elderly.
“Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob,” Trump told Woodward. “But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older.”
By Felicia Sonmez and Anne Gearan