President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. made a series of misleading statements about the coronavirus pandemic on The Ingraham Angle Thursday night, including a claim that the number of deaths from COVID-19 — the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus — was extremely low.
“If you look — I put it up on my Instagram a couple days ago ’cause I went through the CDC data because I kept hearing about new infections. But I was like ‘Why aren’t they talking about deaths? Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing,'” he said.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is clear on its website that the number of deaths attributable to the coronavirus in the U.S. is 216,025, as of October 15. Further, on the very same day that Trump Jr. made his claim, 1,000 people died from the pathogen in the U.S.
He also claimed there are therapeutic options to treat COVID-19, such as remdesivir, an anti-inflammatory drug that was given to his father while he was hospitalized with the illness. Though the drug does appear to show limited promise as a treatment for the disease, it is only being used in the most severe cases. Additionally, a recent study of 11,000 cases in 30 countries concluded that remdesivir did not prevent death in any of the patients treated with it.
Trump Jr. went on to claim the virus is “under control.”
“We’ve gotten control of this thing. We understand how it works, they have the therapeutics to be able to deal with this… We’re outperforming Europe in a positive way, so well because we’ve gotten ahold of this,” he said.
Yahoo Entertainment writer Stephen Proctor noted that anecdotal evidence seems to indicate these claims about the virus being under control are not true. For example, in El Paso, Texas, city officials announced a shutdown of non-essential services in order to control the spread of the virus. In Wisconsin, hospitals are running low on beds in intensive care units.
Trump Jr. made these claims about the coronavirus in response to the actions taken by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison to limit attendance at the president’s rally in that state, as well as Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s assertion that people should not attend campaign rallies. In Minnesota, President Trump’s rally was slated for 6,000 attendees, however, the governor has now limited attendance to only 250. Gupta stated on CNN that going to a rally would contribute to the spread of COVID-19, an assertion Trump Jr. negated.