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Mr Trump made the remarks during a recorded interview with The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward on February 7. He claimed that coronavirus is “more deadly than your, you know, your — even your strenuous flus.”
President Trump said: “This is more deadly.
“This is five per — you know, this is 5 percent versus 1 percent and less than 1 percent, you know. So, this is deadly stuff.”
The interview was part a series of 18 on-the-record interviews that took place between December and July.
During a later interview, Mr Trump admitted to downplaying the severity of the outbreak as to not worry American citizens.
In the March 19 interview, he said: “I wanted to always play it down.
“I still like playing it down. Because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Joe Biden hit out at Mr Trump over his claims about the disease during the pandemic’s early days.
The Democratic presidential nominee said Mr Trump “failed to do his job on purpose” and “lied to the American people.”
He said: “For months, he knew how dangerous it was. He failed to do his job on purpose.”
Mr Biden branded Mr Trump’s handling of information about the pandemic “a life-and-death betrayal of the American people.”
He added that Mr Trump’s “failure has not only cost lives — it sent our economy into a tailspin,” claiming that the economic recession that has cost millions of jobs had been “created by Donald Trump’s negligence.”
Mr Biden added: “How many schools are not open right now?
“How many kids are starting a new school year the same way they ended the last one, at home?
“How many parents feel abandoned and overwhelmed?
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“How many front-line workers are exhausted and pushed to their limits?
“And how many families are missing loved ones at their dinner table tonight because of his failures?”
He added: “It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace.”
Mr Biden also pointed out President Trump’s public unwillingness to abide by the coronavirus preventive measures set out by medical professionals.
He said: “He acknowledges you breathe it, its in the air and he won‘t put on the mask.
“He’s talking about its ridiculous to put on masks, what do you need social distancing for, why have any of these rules?”
He added that the preventive restrictions Mr Trump announced were “all about making sure the stock market didn‘t come down, that his wealthy friends didn‘t lose any money and that he could say that in fact anything that happened had nothing to do with him.”
Mr Trump attempted to defend himself from Mr Biden’s criticism calling Mr Woodward’s remarks “just another political hit job”.
He said: “We had to show calm. The last thing we can show is panic or excitement or fear or anything else.
“We had to take care of the situation we were given.”
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