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As CDC Says 'Do Not Go to Work,' Trump Says Thousands With Coronavirus Could Go to Work and Get Better

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As CDC Says 'Do Not Go to Work,' Trump Says Thousands With Coronavirus Could Go to Work and Get Better
US President Donald Trump looks on next to Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during a meeting at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland on March 3, following up on the COVID-19, coronavirus, outbreak. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Running roughshod over the advice of trained medical professionals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President Donald Trump Wednesday night suggested to millions of Fox News viewers that people infected with coronavirus could still go to work and recover, comments that were immediately condemned as irresponsible and dangerous.


"A lot of people will have this and it's very mild. They'll get better very rapidly," Trump told Fox's Sean Hannity. "They don't even see a doctor, they don't even call a doctor. You never hear about those people."

"So you can't put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and/or virus," Trump continued. "So you just can't do that. So, if, you know, 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."

The CDC has advised that anyone exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus such as a fever, coughing, and/or shortness of breath stay home from work, avoid public areas as much as possible, and seek medical attention.

"You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care," the CDC's website states. "Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis."

Trump also claimed in the interview with Hannity that the World Health Organization's (WHO) estimate of a 3.4% global death rate from coronavirus is a "false number."

"This is just my hunch," the president said.

"These are really dangerous lies," tweeted The Nation's Jeet Heer.

"Trump has had briefings from the nation's best doctors and scientists on COVID-19 and he still spouts total, dangerous bullshit," added climate scientist Peter Gleick.

Trump's remarks came just hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency following the death of a 71-year-old man, the first U.S. coronavirus fatality reported outside of Washington state.

"This is not something that I say hyperbolically," Newsom said of the emergency declaration during a press conference Wednesday. "The proclamation is to serve to help advance our resources."

As Trump and other White House officials have attempted to downplay the severity of the outbreak and hurled accusations of fearmongering — the president said at a rally last week that Democrats' criticism of his handling of the health crisis is a "new hoax" — coronavirus has spread to at least 15 states in the U.S. and killed 11 people.

"The death rate so far—which includes more than 3,000 deaths [globally]—is many times higher than the mortality rate of the seasonal flu, which is 0.1%," the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. "WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that is at least partly because COVID-19 is a new disease, and no one has built up an immunity to it."

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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