(CNN)President Donald Trump has lots and lots of thoughts about the novel coronavirus that has crippled China and has been spreading worldwide. Unfortunately, most of those thoughts are either wrong or factually questionable.
At a press conference during his visit to India on Tuesday, Trump made a number of claims about the virus, which has sickened 80,000 and killed 2,700, that were at best hugely optimistic and at worst deeply misleading.
“I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away,” Trump said of the virus, which has expanded this week in Italy, Austria, Croatia and Iran. In Iran, a day after the health minster appeared publicly to make clear that all was well, it was announced he had coronavirus.
In that news conference, the President insisted that “they have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.” There’s no available evidence that a vaccine is “close,” in fact, most infectious disease experts say developing a vaccine for the virus is roughly a year away. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told CNN’s Manu Raju Tuesday morning that “the vaccine for the coronavirus is moving more rapidly than any vaccine we have already tried to approve — but it will take a year or 18 months. The way to stop (an outbreak) is quarantine and monitoring.”
Trump also claimed in the news conference that all the US coronavirus patients “are getting better … they’re all getting better.” That followed a tweet very early Tuesday morning in India that read: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
The latest tally shows 35 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States as well as several other Americans with the virus in Japan. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Friday that the Americans hospitalized in Japan are “seriously ill.” There have