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FDA commissioner refuses to defend Trump’s claim that 99% of Covid 19 cases are “harmless”

“I will not go into who is right and who is wrong,” said Dr. Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told CNN’s Dana Bash about “State of the Union”.

During his speech on Saturday at the Independence Day of the White House, Trump claimed without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases were “completely harmless”.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 35% of cases are asymptomatic, but even people with mild or no symptoms can spread the virus to others.

While the World Health Organization has indicated that the worldwide death rate is likely to be less than 1%, the WHO says that about 20% of all people diagnosed with coronavirus are sick enough to need oxygen or hospital care.

“I fully support the CDC and the information it publishes regarding this pandemic,”

; said Hahn on Sunday.

Hahn said the coronavirus pandemic was “a rapidly evolving situation,” but stressed that the US “must take this seriously.”

Pressed by Bash on the program, whether the President’s comment is true or false, Hahn again did not defend the President’s claim.

“I will say that we have data in the White House Task Force. This data shows us that this is a serious problem. People have to take it seriously,” Hahn said.

There were more than 2.8 million cases of coronavirus in the United States, and at least 129,000 people died in the United States, according to recent Johns Hopkins University records.
Trump celebrated July 4th at Mount Rushmore and Saturday at the White House Salute to America, where many participants at both events were neither socially distant nor seen with masks.

“If you don’t follow local and state policies, if you don’t follow the guidelines of the CDC and the White House Task Force, you’re putting yourself and your loved ones at risk,” Hahn said.

When asked whether it was uncomfortable for him to hold the events that endanger the Americans, Hahn said the circumstances were different.

“I think with regard to this particular case in the White House, it is important that everyone remembers that the circumstances are different. People are tested regularly. The President is tested regularly,” Hahn said.

“Too early to say” if Florida is safe for the GOP convention

Hahn said it was “too early to say” whether Florida would be a safe place for the Republican Convention next month amid a flood of Covid-19 cases.

“We need to see how this develops in Florida and across the country,” said Hahn.

Florida set a record of most coronavirus cases in the United States in a single day on Saturday, with a total of 11,458 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

CNN has asked the Republican National Committee and Trump campaign for a comment.

The meeting is scheduled for August 24-27 in Jacksonville, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trump will accept the nomination this year in Jacksonville, where mandatory face mask requirements were introduced last week due to the increase in infections. The Republican National Committee is contractually obliged to hold part of its meeting in Charlotte.

The President’s reelection team chose Sunshine State as the new site for much of the Convention after arguing with North Carolina officials about the Convention’s size and social distancing requirements.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.

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