Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on Monday refuted President Donald Trump’s false claim that 99 percent of America’s confirmed coronavirus cases were “totally harmless,” tallying off a number of statistics to inform Fox viewers about how dangerous the virus is.
During his Independence Day remarks, the president downplayed the severity of the disease that has already claimed more than 130,000 American lives, claiming without any evidence that of the millions of American COVID-19 cases that have been identified, “99 percent” of them were “totally harmless.”
Speaking with Dr. Qanta Ahmed about a recent study showing the coronavirus is now airborne and can linger indoors, Cavuto—who has regularly drawn the president’s ire over his critical coverage—used basic math to debunk Trump’s recent claim.
“You know, doctor, the president was saying even with the spikes in cases, 99 percent of the cases are ‘totally harmless,’” the veteran Fox anchor said. “Now, I’m not a doctor but I know a little bit about math.”
“So I was looking at the 2.7 million cases we have and the five percent death rate associated with that,” he continued. “Hospitalizations closer to a 10 percent rate. And hospitalization rates for those with respiratory issues about a 9 percent clip. Bottom line, I don’t come up with 99 percent of cases totally harmless. What about you?”
Ahmed agreed with Cavuto, adding that she “would have to differ from the president on that” and noting that the “risks are enormous” for those with comorbidities such as diabetes and obesity. She also went on to point out that many of those who survive the disease will be left with long-term lung damage.
Cavuto wondered aloud if Trump was giving people a “false sense of security,” adding that he wasn’t sure that was the president’s intent. Ahmed replied that she “would not place the entire burden” on Trump, noting that many people are skeptical about the pandemic.
“But we now see as a nation, we trail almost the entire world in our efforts to combat this virus,” she added. “Because we have acted, as we truly are, which is a federation where the state governments are so powerful. If we had a unified response, much of this virus would have been behind us by now. And so we have no time to waste to support these other states.”
Even members of the president’s own administration couldn’t bring themselves to defend his claims that the virus is essentially harmless. Appearing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn refused to back the president’s remarks, saying he wouldn’t “get into who is right and who is wrong” while stressing that the country “absolutely must take this seriously.”