- While still recovering from COVID-19, President Trump posted a controversial message on social media on Tuesday, claiming that the flu is as deadly as the coronavirus.
- Twitter flagged the message for spreading misinformation, and Facebook removed it.
- Asked to comment on Trump’s tweet, Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted the president, explaining that “it’s not correct” to say COVID-19 is the same as the flu.
President Trump returned to the White House on Monday, where he’ll continue his COVID-19 convalescence.
He resumed his regular Twitter schedule, which slowed in the days following his positive diagnosis. On Tuesday, Trump posted a controversial claim on Twitter and Facebook, where he compared the fatality rate of COVID-19 with the flu. Facebook deleted the message, while Trump flagged it as false, although Twitter users can still see it. Responding to questions about Trump’s coronavirus comments, Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted the president.
“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump said in the tweet. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with COVID, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
The message is now flagged for having “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,” with Twitter keeping it up because the social media site “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Fauci said on Tuesday in an interview with NBC News that COVID-19 does have “flu-like” symptoms. But the damage the novel coronavirus can do “is very much different from influenza.”
“You don’t get a pandemic that kills a million people, and it isn’t even over yet, with influenza,” Fauci said. “So it is not correct to say it’s the same as flu. It has some overlapping symptomatology early on. But flu doesn’t do the things to you that COVID-19 can.”
Fauci was also asked about Trump’s messaging in recent days. The President was criticized upon returning to the White House on Monday evening, where he removed his mask before entering the building. Fauci said that his job isn’t to antagonize the president, but reminded people what the safety measures against COVID-19 are, and that they apply to everyone.
“I have a job to do, and my personally contradicting the president of the United States publicly is not a good thing if I want to get my job done,” Fauci said.
“There are some things that should be universally practiced, and that is the universal wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance, doing things outdoors more than indoors, and washing our hands frequently,” Fauci added. “That doesn’t matter who you are. That’s what you should be doing.”
In different remarks, Fauci warned that the COVID-19 death toll could go up to 400,000 in America if preventive measures aren’t respected. The illness killed so far more than one million people worldwide, more than 216,000 in the US alone.
A study from mid-August showed that the novel coronavirus might be deadlier than the 1918 flu pandemic, which eventually killed 50 million people worldwide according to estimates.