On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced that the mortality rate for the new COVID-19 coronavirus is higher than the original 2.3 percent estimate.
"Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died; by comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. "While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity; that means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease."
President Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night that the WHO is probably wrong. "Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number," he said. " Now, this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this." Because 11 people have died in the U.S., "all of a sudden is seems like 3 or 4 percent, which is a very high number, as opposed to a fraction of 1 percent," Trump added. "Personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent."
Trump to Hannity on WHO saying coronavirus death rate is 3.4%: "I think the 3.4% number is really a false number. Now this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations ... personally, I'd say the number is way under 1%."
Trump also explained why he wasn't concerned about the coronavirus at first, according to CNN's Daniel Dale.
Trump on the coronavirus: "It wasn't something that was going to affect us. You know, you don't think of it in terms -- when you first heard it in China, you don't think our country's gonna be affected."
At MSNBC, Chris Hayes discussed what the Trump administration failed to learn from China's coronavirus experience, primarily that "you have to be clear, honest, and transparent about the scope of the virus and the infection."
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the award-winning director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has worked in the public health sector since 1995. But for some people, apparently, her accomplishments and experience pale in comparison to the fact she's the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Messonnier reportedly angered President Trump on Tuesday when she said it's not a question of if, but when and how fiercely, the coronavirus will hit the United States. "She never should have said that," a senior administration official told CNBC. "It's bad."
But some of Trump's supporters, like conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, have taken things a step further. Limbaugh, who has said the coronavirus is nothing more than the common cold and a scare tactic meant to hurt Trump by tanking the stock market, doubled down on his conspiracy theory Wednesday by tying Messonnier to her brother, who is, to put it gently, not viewed favorably by Trump and his allies, thanks to his role overseeing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference.
Limbaugh falsely suggested Messonnier was part of a "deep state" conspiracy to exploit the coronavirus to bring down Trump.
Rush Limbaugh and right-wing fringe sites are attacking Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official handling the coronavirus response, because she is Rod Rosenstein's sister. They're spreading the lie that she's part of the deep state and trying to tank the markets to weaken Trump.
Perhaps not shockingly, others have followed suit. Tim O'Donnell
Right on schedule: The rightwing news sites (Gateway Pundit, Rush Limbaugh, etc.) have seized upon the fact that Dr. Nancy Messonnier—the CDC official who warned of potential severe disruptions—is Rod Rosenstein's sister.