FDA commissioner refuses to comment on Trump's claim that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are 'harmless'
When pressed multiple times during Sunday morning news shows, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn refused to comment on the accuracy of President Donald Trump's claim that 99% of the coronavirus cases are "harmless".
During his Fourth of July speech at the "Salute to America" event, Trump claimed that the majority of coronavirus cases were harmless.
“There were no test for a new virus, but now we have tested almost 40 million people,” Trump said. “By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless, results that no other country can show because no other country has testing that we have, not in terms of the numbers or in terms of the quality.”
Hahn appeared on several Sunday shows, including CNN’s “State of the Union” where host Dana Bash asked him about the president’s statement.
“Dr. Hahn, I realize this is not easy for you. You are … working really hard to try to protect Americans,” Bash said. “So, I just have to ask you flatly, to that end, to protect Americans, is the president wrong?”
Hahn told Bash that he was not “going to get into who is right and who is wrong” and, instead, spoke about the surging number of coronavirus cases in the United States, saying that “the way out of this for all Americans is to follow the CDC and the White House task force guidelines.”
While on ABC’s “This Week”, Hahn, again, refused to comment on the accuracy of the president’s statement and instead said Americans should “follow the guidance of the CDC; follow the protocols of the local and state governments” because “that's how we're going to get out of this. That's how we're going to further flatten. That's how we're going to stop this rising number of cases in the Sunbelt.”
The United States has surpassed more than 164,000 new cases during the first three days of July, reaching nearly 58,000 new reported cases just on July 3.
Nearly every state is seeing an increase in reported coronavirus cases, but states including Arizona, Texas and Florida are a few of the hardest hit, causing many of them to pause their steps to reopen.
Hahn also refused to comment on the president’s statement that the United States will have a vaccine long before the end of the year.
In the same speech, while thanking researchers and scientists for working on a vaccine, Trump said “We are unleashing our nation’s scientific brilliance and will likely have a therapeutic and/or vaccine solution long before the end of the year.”
“This Week” host Martha Raddatz asked Hahn about the likelihood of having a vaccine by the end of the year.
“I can't predict. I can't predict when a vaccine will be available," Hahn told Raddatz. “Yes, we are seeing unprecedented speed for the development of a vaccine. But ... we issued guidance this past week about vaccine development because we want to be very clear, our solemn promise to the American people is that we will make a decision based upon the data and science on a vaccine with respect to the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine.”