Donald Trump on Covid: 10 times the president has dismissed dangers of coronavirus

Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of coronavirus. Credit: AP

US president Donald Trump and his wife Melania have both tested positive for Covid-19.

The first coronavirus deaths in the US were recorded back in February; 200,000 Americans have since died after testing positive for the disease.

Despite the severity of the outbreak in the States, the president has continually downplayed Covid's virulence and danger, although he refutes this, saying if anything, he "up-played it, in terms of action.”

Either way, over the course of this year, Mr Trump has had plenty to say about coronavirus. Here are some of his quotes on the virus.

Donald Trump was widely mocked for suggesting it might be possible to treat Covid-19 by injecting disinfectant Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

'It's under control'

Back on January 24, Mr Trump praised China’s handling of coronavirus, saying it had "been working very hard" to contain the disease.

"The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

Since Covid-19 arrived on America's shores and left hundreds of thousands dead, Mr Trump repeatedly refers to it as "the Chinese virus" and said the world “must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague on to the world: China.”

'Just stay calm. It will go away'

Speaking on Capitol Hill on 10 March, Mr Trump invoked countless tea towel slogans with a firm belief the virus would simply vanish. It is a line he has repeated many times; “it’s gonna go. It’s gonna leave. It’s gonna be gone. It’s gonna be eradicated," was his public position.

'It's no worse than flu'

"This is a flu. This is like a flu," has been Mr Trump's stance since the beginning of the outbreak.

But it has since come to light in Bob Woodward's book Rage that the president was well aware of the dangers of Covid-19 from the outset, telling the journalist on 7 February that the virus was "deadly stuff". He claimed he concealed the truth from the public to avoid causing panic.

'You can go to work with Covid'

Earlier this year, Mr Trump suggested people with coronavirus could still "go to work" despite people being required to quarantine for 14 days if they displayed symptoms and Americans being urged to work from home.

“If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work - some of them go to work, but they get better,” he said.

President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP

1.5 million Americans testing positive a 'badge of honour'

On 21 May, Trump told reporters at the White House that the millions of Americans who had tested positive for coronavirus was just proof of how good his administration was.

“When you say that we lead in [coronavirus] cases, that's because we have more testing than anybody else.

"So when we have a lot of cases, I don't look at that as a bad thing. I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better.

"So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it's a badge of honour."

On killing coronavirus with ‘light inside the body’

Mr Trump stunned reporters and the world when in he came up with a bizarre 'treatment' for coronavirus during a White House briefing.

“Suppose that we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” Mr Trump suggestion.

“Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way," he continued.

He then went on to seemingly recommend ingesting disinfectant as a viable virus treatment much to the horror of White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr Deborah Birx looking on from the side lines.  

"Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? It sounds interesting to me, so we'll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That's pretty powerful."

He later claimed he was being "sarcastic".

On his own ‘positive negative’ test resultMr Trump reported on 21 May that he “tested very positively” during his now-daily Covid-19 test.

“In another sense, I tested positively toward negative, right? So no. I tested perfectly this morning, meaning I tested negative. But that's a way of saying it. Positively toward the negative.”

Overly promising on a vaccine

Back on February 25, the president claimed "we’re very close to a vaccine.” In September, with no jab in sight, he insisted there would be a vaccine “before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1. I think we can probably have it sometime in October.”

During the first presidential debate on Tuesday, he once again claimed that “we’re weeks away from a vaccine."

Donald Trump holding a mask during the presidential debate on Tuesday. Credit: AP

Downplaying contagion

When Mr Trump, was asked if he is afraid of coronavirus risk at his rallies: “I’m on a stage, it’s very far away, so I’m not at all concerned.”

Recommending hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19

“I happen to be a believer in hydroxy. I used it. I had no problem. I happen to be a believer,” Trump said on one occasion of the anti malaria drug.

“It doesn’t hurt people,” he commented another time.

Several large studies have since concluded the drug has no benefit for Covid-19 patients, while the White House's testing czar, Brett Giroir, have also cautioned against it several times.