President Donald Trump on Monday made several false claims during his daily press briefing about coronavirus, downplaying what experts have said is the continued need to restrict social movement in order to slow the spread of the virus and overstating the successes of a potential treatment.
Here’s what Trump said, and what the facts are.
Claim: “Normal life will return” soon
“The hardship will end, it will end soon. Normal life will return,” Trump said on Monday.
Bristling at the economic losses, Trump has started suggesting Americans would be able to return to normal life soon. After “15 days” of the social distancing the administration began mid-month, Trump said, officials will decide how to reopen the country.
“It’s a much shorter period of time than I’ve been hearing the news report,” he added later.
But other authorities, including governors in the hardest-hit states, as well as medical professionals largely do not see a speedy return to normalcy. The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Friday that Americans will most likely have to continue staying at home and practicing social distancing for “at least several weeks” amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now it’s going to be over. I don’t think there’s a chance of that,” Fauci said.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned on the “TODAY” show on Monday that the coming week will show the crisis worsening.
“I want America to understand this week, it’s going to get bad,” Adams said.
Over the weekend, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that in his state — which has emerged as an epicenter of the pandemic — he expects the impact of the virus, as well as restrictions to curb it, to last 4-9 months.
“I don’t believe it’s going to be a matter of weeks. I believe it is going to be a matter of months, but we are going to get through it,” he said.
Claim: We’ve got an “approved” drug “that’s looking very very good”
“The hydroxychloroquine and the Z-pack, I think, as a combination, probably, it’s looking very, very good,” Trump claimed on Monday. He also called the pair of medicines a “drug that got approved in record-setting time.”
There’s anecdotal evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — decades-old drugs used to prevent malaria and treat rheumatic diseases — might help patients fight off the virus, particularly when paired with the antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pack.
But it’s not an “approved” treatment for coronavirus, according to the FDA, or even a fully vetted option.
“The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal; it was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it,” Fauci said Friday.
Last week, Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said the FDA wants “a large, pragmatic clinical trial” to see if the drug “actually benefits patients.”