Trump’s wildest coronavirus claim yet gets instant fact-check on Twitter

President Donald Trump attempted to downplay the coronavirus pandemic on Monday as the U.S. death toll approached 200,000 by saying it affects "elderly people with heart problems and other problems."

"That's what it really affects," Trump said during a campaign rally in Ohio. "That's it."

Trump also said the virus doesn't really affect anyone below the age of 18.

"In some states, thousands of people, nobody young... they have a strong immune system, who knows," he said. "But it affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing."

According to the CDC, some 400,000 people under the age of 18 have been infected with the coronavirus. While many cases were mild or even without symptoms, at least 576 patients under the age of 18 were hospitalized for the infection between March and July.

The president's comments also contradicted his own past statements.

"It's turning out it's not just old people," Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in March in comments that were only recently made public. "Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It's not just old –- older. Young people, too. Plenty of young people."

20 PHOTOS
President Trump holds a rally in North Carolina
See Gallery
President Trump holds a rally in North Carolina
President Donald Trump wraps up his speech at a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: US President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 at the Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
President Donald Trump wraps up his speech at a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 at the Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
President Donald Trump wraps up his speech at a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump wraps up his speech at a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather as Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: US President Donald Trump greets people during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: US President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather as Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: US President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, as Trump's motorcade departs for the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters gather outside Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, before the departure of President Donald Trump's motorcade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters and supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, before the departure of Trump's motorcade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, before the departure of Trump's motorcade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FAYETTEVILLE, USA - SEPTEMBER 19: US President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 19: President Donald J. Trump speaks during a campaign event at Fayetteville Regional Airport on Saturday, Sept 19, 2020 in Fayetteville, NC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Sen. Tom Tillis, R-N.C. holds a sign as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 at the Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In public, however, Trump has continued to spend much of the pandemic trying to downplay the virus. In February, he predicted the number of cases "within a couple of days" would be "down to close to zero." More recently, Trump has tried to dismiss cases in "blue" states.

"The blue states had tremendous death rates," Trump said last week. "If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at, we're really at a very low level."

Former Vice President Joe Biden took the opposite approach when asked about the climbing death toll, warning against becoming numb to the news.

"We can't lose the ability to feel the sorrow and the loss and the anger for so many lives lost," Biden said in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on Monday. "We can't let the numbers become statistics, a background noise, just a blur that we see on the nightly news."

Biden said the Covid-19 deaths weren't just numbers but "empty chairs at dining room tables and kitchen tables that weeks and months ago were filled with a loved one, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister."

On social media, Trump's critics zeroed in on his use of the phrase "virtually nobody" as both callous and inaccurate:

- This article first appeared on HuffPost
Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS