What has Donald Trump said about coronavirus?

Questions have been raised over US President Donald Trump’s attitude towards the coronavirus pandemic after he tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Trump announced that he and his wife Melania had been diagnosed in the early hours of Friday after one of the president’s top aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive.

The PA news agency looks at what Mr Trump has said about the virus and the pandemic.

– Covid-19 will go away ‘like a miracle’

Since the start of the outbreak, Mr Trump has repeatedly said that the virus will go away.

In February, he said: “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

He also said in the same month: “A lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat, as the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April.”

Nato Leaders Meeting
Nato Leaders Meeting

– Covid-19 affects ‘virtually nobody’

During a campaign rally in the swing state of Ohio on September 21, Mr Trump played down the scale of the virus.

He told supporters: “Now we know it. It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. But they have other problems, that’s what it really affects, that’s it.”

He added: “But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.”

The US has recorded seven million cases and more than 200,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

– Suggested checking if disinfectant could be injected into humans

In late April, Mr Trump suggested checking whether disinfectant could be injected into humans to combat Covid-19 or if light could be used.

He said: “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?

“Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”

Mr Trump later said his comments were sarcastic.

– It is ‘very hard’ to not hug service personnel

While waiting for the results of his test following Ms Hicks’ diagnosis, Mr Trump said he had found it difficult to socially distance while meeting members of the armed forces.

He told Fox News on Thursday: “It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the marines, and with the police officers, I’m with them so much.

“And when they come over to you it’s very hard to say ‘Stay back, stay back’, you know, it’s a tough kind of a situation, it’s a terrible thing.”

He added: “They come over to you and they want to hug you and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them and you get close and things happen.”

– Not wanting to wear a mask

In April, Mr Trump announced guidance recommending that Americans wear face coverings in public to help fight the spread of the virus.

However, he followed up the announcement by saying: “I’m choosing not to do it.”

“It’s a recommendation, they recommend it,” Mr Trump said. “I just don’t want to wear one myself.”

In July, he appeared to backtrack and said: “I’m all for masks. I think masks are good. People have seen me wearing one.”

– Covid-19 is like flu and should be treated as such

Mr Trump has repeatedly compared Covid-19 to the seasonal flu.

In February, he said: “This is a flu. This is like a flu.

“It’s a little like a regular flu that we have flu shots for, and we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

He later compared the number of deaths caused by flu with the then 22 fatal cases of Covid-19 in the US.

So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020

– Covid-19 was created in a Chinese lab

Mr Trump claimed to have seen evidence that the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Wuhan laboratory, speculating that the virus was released by Chinese authorities.

He said: “It’s a terrible thing that happened.

“Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one, or did somebody do something on purpose.”

This has been denied by Chinese authorities and dismissed as a theory by US intelligence services.

– The US could have a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020

In May, Mr Trump said: “We think we are going to have a vaccine by the end of this year.”

US health experts said at the time that a vaccine was probably much further away, with optimistic estimates suggesting early 2021.

– Promoting anti-malarial medication

The US president has speculated on the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which Oxford University researchers found to have no clinical benefit.

Mr Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him but he requested it from the White House physician.

“I started taking it, because I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories,” Mr Trump said.