From mocking masks to backing bleach – 10 things Trump has said about coronavirus

After spending much of the year playing down the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump confirmed on Twitter that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19.

The US president has received plenty of criticism for his handling of the disease in the US, which leads the world in cases and deaths with more than 7.2 million and 207,000 respectively.

Sky News looks back at some of Mr Trump’s own words on COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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1) ‘I don’t wear masks like him’

Mr Trump has made repeatedly criticised Democrat Joe Biden for wearing face coverings.

During Tuesday’s presidential debate, the president said he wore masks “when needed” before mocking Mr Biden, saying: “I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he has got a mask.

“You could be speaking 200ft away from me and he shows up with the biggest mask I have ever seen.”

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill visit the War Memorial Plaza during Memorial Day, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Castle, Delaware
Image:The president criticised Joe Biden for wearing face masks

During a rally in Pennsylvania in September, Mr Trump asked supporters if they know “a man that likes a mask as much” as Mr Biden.

He said “it gives him a feeling of security”, adding: “If I was a psychiatrist, I’d say this guy has some big issues.”

Mr Trump also retweeted a tweet mocking Mr Biden for wearing a mask on Memorial Day in May.

His criticisms have come despite the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention having recommended the use of face masks since back in April.

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Biden to Trump: ‘Why don’t you shut up, man?’

2) ‘Disinfectant… it would be interesting to check that’

After officials spoke about the impact bleach and sunlight have on coronavirus in April, Mr Trump mused about using disinfectant as a treatment.

Speaking at a White House news conference, occasionally glancing over to one of his medical experts sat just across from his podium, the president remarked: “It knocks it out in a minute, one minute…. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?”

He added that it would be “interesting to check that”.

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Doctor’s disbelief as Trump touts disinfectant

Doctors immediately warned against the “irresponsible” and “dangerous” unproven idea, saying it could kill people.

Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California, tweeted: “Trump’s briefings are actively endangering the public’s health. Boycott the propaganda. Listen to the experts.

“And please don’t drink disinfectant.”

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3) ‘We’re rounding the final turn’

In September, Mr Trump said at a press briefing: “We’re rounding the final turn, and a lot of good things are happening with vaccines and with therapeutics.”

He added: “There is no lie here. What we’re doing is we’re leading.”

That claim came despite the US being the worst-affected country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.

Dr Fauci warned Americans they must wear facemasks and observe social distancing
Image:Over seven million cases and 200,000 deaths have been recorded in the US

4) ‘One day, like a miracle, it will disappear’

Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed that COVID-19 will disappear over the course of the pandemic.

In February, he said: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

The president later said it will “hopefully” be gone at the end of March, before reiterating “it’s true, it’s going to disappear” in July.

In August, he said: “Schools should open, this thing’s going away, it will go away like things go away.”

Why the president's age and physical condition put him at higher risk from COVID-19

Why the president’s age and physical condition put him at higher risk from COVID-19

5) ‘Dr Fauci has made a lot of mistakes’

Mr Trump has regularly disagreed with Dr Anthony Fauci, who is America’s leading expert on the coronavirus and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In July, Mr Trump said: ​​​​”Dr Fauci said don’t wear masks, and now he says wear them. He said numerous things. Don’t close off China. Don’t ban China. I did it anyway.”

“He’s made a lot of mistakes,” the president added.

In August, he retweeted a video of Dr Fauci talking about a surge in cases with a caption saying: “Wrong!”

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Image:The president has repeatedly criticised Dr Fauci, saying ‘he’s made a lot of mistakes’

6) ‘I’m not going to drive the world into a frenzy’

According to Rage, a book by journalist Bob Woodward, the president understood the threat of COVID-19 early on, however he chose to downplay it in public.

He’s quoted as saying “this is deadly stuff” in February, and: “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

Mr Woodward says that in March, Mr Trump told him: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

When asked about the claims in September, the president said: “I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength.”

How coronavirus spread around the world

How coronavirus spread around the world

7) ‘Hydroxychloroquine… I feel good about it’

In March, Mr Trump promoted the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, saying “we ought to give it a try”.

Dr Fauci dismissed the idea at the time, saying there was no evidence proving the drug’s effectiveness.

But Mr Trump, who has claimed to have taken the drug to protect himself from coronavirus, added: “I feel good about it. That’s all it is, just a feeling, you know, smart guy. I feel good about it.”

A global study has found that the drug was linked to a higher death rate among coronavirus patients, as it can cause issues with heart rhythm.

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Trump: ‘I took hydroxy, Z-Pak and zinc’

8) ‘It affects virtually nobody’

Speaking at a rally in September, Mr Trump told supporters in Ohio that coronavirus affects “elderly people with heart problems and other problems”.

He went on to say that in some states, cases include “nobody young” as it “affects virtually nobody”.

Despite these claims, research has found instances of coronavirus amongst young people are increasing, with stats bearing that out in other countries around the world.

Trump addresses Tulsa rally as crowd underwhelms
Image:Trump held a rally in Tulsa despite the pandemic raging across the country

9) ‘It will go without a vaccine’

In May, the president said COVID-19 would “go without a vaccine”, just like other viruses and flus that “disappeared” without having to immunise people.

He added “they’ve never shown up again” so “hopefully, after a period of time” coronavirus won’t be seen again.

Scientists have made clear that COVID-19 differs from other illnesses in terms of symptoms, onset and death rates.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, August 23, 2020. - American authorities announced an emergency approval of blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients as a treatment against the disease that has killed over 176,000 in the US. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:Mr Trump has faced frequent criticism for his comments regarding coronavirus

10) ‘Lockdown is like being in prison’

Mr Trump said Mr Biden would “destroy this country” with a lockdown, which he argues is “like being in prison”, during Tuesday’s presidential debate.

He added that the impact it has on divorce rates, alcoholism, and drug abuse is “a very, very sad thing”.

The president has always been against lockdown. In March, he said: “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down.”

Researchers have found that overall, national lockdowns have been beneficial as they “saved more lives, in a shorter period of time, than ever before”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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