At a White House coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday, Donald Trump appeared to take a more serious view of the pandemic's severity than in the past, when he repeatedly compared the deadly virus to the ordinary seasonal flu. As recently as Friday, the president compared the coronavirus to the flu at a press briefing, saying, "you cancel it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus, you can call it many different things," according to quotes published by The New York Times.
But on Tuesday, Trump clearly stated that the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus is "vicious."
"A lot of people were saying think of it as the flu, but it's not the flu. It's vicious," Trump said, as quoted via Twitter by BBC reporter Anthony Zurcher.
Zurcher noted, however, that last week on Tuesday, Trump defended his stated goal to "re-open" the country by Easter, April 12, by saying that the country never shuts down even though "we lose thousands of people a year to the flu."
Trump previously claimed on Sunday that certain unnamed people had encouraged him to do nothing at all in response to the coronavirus pandemic, supposedly telling him to "ride it like a cowboy."