As coronavirus deaths surpass 150,000 in the United States, President Donald Trump returned for his second week of renewed briefings on COVID-19 only to devolve into comparing his approval rating with those of two top government medical experts.
“And he’s got this high approval rating,” Trump said of the infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. “So why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration — with respect to the virus? We should have it very high.” Many of Trump’s aides reportedly believe that the president’s support of unfounded claims and discredited medical experts have unsettled the public and hurt his chances of reelection. “So it sort of is curious,” Trump continued. “A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. [Deborah] Birx also, very highly thought of — and yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me?
“It can only be my personality, that’s all,” he concluded, going as far as to say that he deserved more credit for his administration’s efforts in treating the virus than Fauci.
Recently, the president has reverted to tweeting false information about hydroxychloroquine, commonly used to treat arthritis and prevent malaria. Trump himself claims to have taken a 10-day course of the hydroxychloroquine back in May. Many of the tweets praise the drug as “the cure” despite the FDA revoking emergency use authorization of it last month.
Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. has also shared misleading information about hydroxychloroquine, prompting Twitter to remove the tweet and temporarily freeze his account; however, the president also retweeted the video and was not subject to the same action.
Fauci has been outspoken in his disapproval of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. During an appearance on CNN’s Newsroom in May, Fauci said, “The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it,” citing adverse cardiovascular effects.
In the same press briefing, Trump declared “large portions of our country” to be “corona-free” despite no region in the United States actually being free of the virus. He acknowledged high case levels in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, but was quick to say that prospects were positive. “That’s starting to head down in the right direction, said Trump, “and I think you’ll see it rapidly head down very soon.”
In contradiction to Trump’s statements, a new federal report found that 21 states had outbreaks serious enough to place them in the “red zone.” The report advised more restrictions be placed on social activities to help quell the virus. The 21 states include not only the four listed by Trump, but also Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. All of these states had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week alone. Yesterday the U.S. also saw its deadliest day this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1,300 lives lost, while cases topped 4.3 million.