Donald Trump last night said the US would be in a ‘massive depression’ if he had listened to the scientists on coronavirus, while his top diseases expert told an interviewer that the president had hosted a ‘super-spreader event.’
As the president pitted the election as a ‘Trump super-recovery’ versus a ‘Biden depression’ at another rollicking rally, Dr Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes that he was ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump had caught covid.
‘I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded – no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask (at the Amy Coney Barrett event in the Rose Garden).’ Fauci told CBS.
‘When I saw that on TV, I said, “Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that’s got to be a problem.” And then sure enough, it turned out to be a super-spreader event.’
Fauci’s analysis comes as Trump held a campaign rally, telling his fans that if former Vice President Biden makes it into the Oval Office: ‘He’s gonna lock down. This guy wants to lock down.’
Speaking in Nevada, the president said: ‘He’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression.’
Experts have continued their dire warnings that the US is heading into the ‘darkest hour of the pandemic’ despite the death rate currently averaging about 700 per day, way below the April peak of nearly 2,000 daily fatalities.
The deaths rate has also dropped, from 60 deaths per 100,000 people to 37 in May down to 27 per 100,000 in June.
U.S. President Donald Trump dances to the music as he departs at the end of a campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada, U.S., October 18, 2020
‘I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded – no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask (at the Amy Coney Barrett event in the Rose Garden.’ Fauci told CBS. ‘When I saw that on TV, I said, “Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that’s got to be a problem.” And then sure enough, it turned out to be a super-spreader event.’
But Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert, last night face a grim prognosis for the Americans that have already experienced 8.13million coronavirus infections and 219,000 deaths.
Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, was asked about the White House’s controversial push towards herd immunity on NBC and admitted he didn’t share Trump’s optimism.
‘We’re not telling the full story. We do have vaccines and therapeutics coming down the pike, but when you look at the time period for that, the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the pandemic, he said.
‘Vaccines will not become available in any meaningful way until early to [the] third quarter of next year. And even then, about half of the U.S. population at this point is skeptical of even taking the vaccine.’
Osterholm blamed the skepticism on a ‘major problem in messaging.’
He explained that Americans don’t have a ‘lead’ or ‘consolidated’ voice to guide them through the pandemic at the moment.
‘People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we’ve got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality,’ said Osterholm.
He added that the goal of herd immunity was best reached when placing citizens through a vaccination program – not simply allowing them to get the virus – but that would require public support.
‘We need somebody to start to articulate, ‘What is our long-term plan? How are we going to get there? Why are we asking people to sacrifice distancing? Why are we telling people if you really love your family, you won’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and end up infecting mom or dad or grandpa and grandma.”
‘We don’t have that storytelling going on right now, and that’s every bit as important as the science itself.’
Masks were not widespread at Trump’s Nevada rally to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And Trump warned that Biden would be more heavy-handed in dealing with the virus, which continues to see new spikes. ‘If he comes in, Carson City will become a ghosttown,’ Trump warned. ‘The Christmas season will be cancelled’
Trump pictured waving a fist as he arrived for the raucous rally at Carson City Airport in Carson City, Nevada where attendees did not social distance
Trump ended his rally boasting ‘With your help, your devotion and your drive we’re going to keep on winning, winning, winning!’ as attendees joined in his chant
An attendee shield himself from the sun with an American flag-themed jacket during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump on Sunday in Carson City
On Friday, there were 70,000 new coronavirus cases in the country – the highest level since July.
Osterholm said that figure is worrying and perhaps a sign of things to come, despite many who argue that this is as a result of a massively increased testing capacity.
‘Friday we had 70,000 cases, matching the largest number we had seen back during the really serious peak in July. That number… we’re going to blow right through that. And between now and the holidays we will see numbers much much larger,’ Osterholm said.
Although the White House emerged as a solid front when it enacted the coronavirus task force in January, the facade slowly waned as Trump ignored health experts’ guidelines and dissenting voices entered civil discourse.
Trump and Fauci have publicly bumped heads over various issues before, although his latest remarks about the ‘super-spreader’ ACB event are perhaps the starkest example to date.
Trump’s more laissez faire approach to eradicating the pandemic clashed with Fauci, who repeatedly called for Americans to adhere to social distancing and emphasized the importance of face masks.
The pair’s most recent clash came over herd immunity, which was reportedly proposed to Trump by medical adviser Scott Atlas.
Several health experts have dismissed herd immunity as a viable solution, including Fauci, who called it ‘total nonsense,’ as well as ‘scientifically and ethically problematic.’
Fauci, in an interview on 60 Minutes, said: ‘If you just let things rip and let the infection go – no masks, crowds – that quite frankly is ridiculous.
‘What that will do is there will be so many people in the community that you can’t shelter, that you can’t protect, who are going to get sick and get serious consequences.
‘If you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases they’ll tell you it’s risky and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths.
‘I think we’ve got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.’
In Nevada Sunday, Trump kept the focus on Biden’s ‘corruption’ and the latest in the Hunter Biden saga, referring to the ‘laptop from hell.’
‘This is the most boring human being I’ve ever seen,’ Trump said of Biden, while also claiming he was running a ‘criminal enterprise’ alongside his son.
‘The Bidens make “crooked” Hillary Clinton look like an absolute amateur,’ Trump said, using a throwback insult from his successful 2016 campaign.
President Donald Trump appeared at a campaign rally Sunday afternoon in Carson City, Nevada 16 days before the presidential election where he slammed the Biden’s as ‘crooked’, his opponent Joe Biden as ‘boring’ and boasted ‘the best is yet to come’
President Donald Trump briefly chatted with reporters on the tarmac in Reno, Nevada, as he arrived Sunday afternoon for his Carson City, Nevada rally
A woman dressed up in Native American costume awaits the arrival of President Donald Trump in Carson City, Nevada Sunday
President Donald Trump’s supporters get ready for the president’s arrival in Carson City, Nevada Sunday
‘So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,’ Trump said at one point. The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board. However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occur.
Pointing a finger at Hunter, Trump said, ‘This guy’s a vacuum cleaner,’ alleging he was sucking up tons of foreign money.
‘I call him the human vacuum cleaner,’ the president said to cheers and applause from the crowd of several thousand watching the president in the hot Nevada sun.
The crowd started chanting ‘lock him up!’ referring to Biden and his son.
‘They’re corrupt people. But Joe Biden is from a failed and corrupt political class,’ Trump reiterated in his fired up speech.
Trump has been having a field day over a New York Post report that is supposed to be proof that Biden was in on his son Hunter’s foreign business deals while he was serving as President Barack Obama’s vice president.
The emails were allegedly found on a laptop left at a shop with a copy of the harddrive given to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Federal authorities are now investigating whether the emails were connected to a foreign intelligence operation in a bid to sway the election.
The president called it the ‘laptop from hell.’
‘So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,’ Trump said at one point.
‘Joe’s getting a piece of everything,’ Trump, at another moment, alleged.
The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board.
However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occur.
A large crowd gathered outdoors to hear US President Donald Trump speak at Carson City Airport in Carson City, Nevada
Supporters pictured cheering on Trump as he spoke during the campaign rally
Trump staffers handed out MAGA face masks to attendees at the rally, just 16 days ahead of the presidential election
A group of Trump supporters hold up a photo of a young child saying he’s a Trump fan
On this three-day swing, Nevada was the only swing state that tilted toward the Democrats in 2016, with 47.9 per cent of voters in the state picking Clinton and 45.5 for Trump.
On Saturday he did back-to-back rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin.
And on Monday, Trump will do another two rallies in Arizona, a state that he won in 2016, but looks ripe for the Democrats’ picking.
The president woke up Sunday at his Las Vegas hotel and attended church services at the International Church of Las Vegas before jetting off to Orange County, California for several hours to raise money for his campaign 16 days before the presidential election.
The Democrats and Biden have far outraised the Republican National Committee and Trump in August and September.
In Carson City, the president suggested the Democrats were cheating – and their fundraising was like a ‘quid pro quo,’ aiming the comment at Biden.
Trump’s impeachment revolved around whether there was a ‘quid pro quo’ when the president held up military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country’s president to announce investigations into Hunter and Joe Biden.
Upon landing in Reno, Nevada, Trump gave reporters a quick update on the on-again, off-again stimulus talks taking place back in Washington, D.C.
‘I think Nancy Pelosi maybe is coming along we’ll find out,’ Trump said. ‘Want to do it at a bigger number than she wants. That doesn’t mean all the Republicans agree with me but I think they will in the end if she would go along, I think they would too, on stimulus.’
‘So we’ll see what happens,’ Trump added.
That didn’t stop Trump from attacking the House speaker at the Carson City event, making fun of her for not wanting his ‘wall’ but living in a gating community and eating fancy ice cream.
He also suggested Pelosi’s recent talk about the 25th Amendment, which came after the president was hospitalized with the coronavirus, was actually so Democrats can dispose of Biden for his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, should they win.
‘Biden is gone-zo,’ Trump said, a reference to the 77-year-old’s age. ”Can you imagine having Kamala?’ he added, calling her the most liberal member of Congress.
The president also hit out at some Congressional Republicans, like GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, who was extremely critical of the president on a call with constituents.
‘We have some stupid people, you know,’ Trump said.
‘Now we have this guy Sasse. He wants to make a statement. Little Ben Sasse,’ Trump jabbed. ‘Republicans needs to stick together better.’
Trump ended his rally boasting, ‘The best is yet to come’.
‘Proud citizens like you helped build this country and together we’re taking back this country. So with your help, your devotion and your drive we’re going to keep on winning, winning, winning!’ he said as attendees joined in his chant.
Masks were not widespread at Trump’s Nevada rally to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And Trump warned that Biden would be more heavy-handed in dealing with the virus, which continues to see new spikes.
‘If he comes in, Carson City will become a ghosttown,’ Trump warned. ‘The Christmas season will be cancelled.’