White House chief of staff repeats Trump’s unfounded coronavirus claim

The US Food and Drug Administration commissioner declined on Sunday to defend the president’s unfounded claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” and repeatedly declined to say whether the comment by Trump is true or false.

“I am not going to analyze who is right and who is wrong,” Dr. Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Dana Bash.

During his remarks Saturday at the White House Independence Day event, Trump asserted without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases “are completely harmless.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35% of cases are asymptomatic, but even people with mild or no symptoms can transmit the virus to others.

While the World Health Organization has said that the global death rate is likely to be less than 1%, the WHO also said that about 20% of all people diagnosed with coronaviruses are sick enough to need oxygen or hospital care.

“I fully support the CDC and the information they are publishing regarding this pandemic,” Hahn said Sunday.

FDA commissioner refuses to defend Trump's claim that 99% of Covid-19 cases are 'harmless'

Meadows, who spoke to reporters at the White House, insisted that “many of these cases are asymptomatic.”

“Also, when we look at a population of over 325 million people and what we’re seeing, those statistics would indicate approximately 102%. When that 99% came, it came from real numbers. And you can look at the numbers a number of different ways, “he said.

The Johns Hopkins University data suggests a 4.6% coronavirus mortality rate, not to mention the effects in many Americans who become seriously ill but do not die.

The former congressman also said that Trump did not intend to downplay people who get sick as a result of the virus.

“I don’t think it was the president’s intention to play down that, rather than say let’s take a look at the risk and see this in an appropriate way based on facts and figures,” he said.

When asked about the new policy that protesters in New Hampshire will be “strongly encouraged” to wear a mask, he told Fox News: “It is more of a precautionary factor.”

“When we started opening up, if the masks were appropriate in his life, the president mentioned that he is willing to wear a mask if it is appropriate in tight spaces. I know some of us have done the same. But everything is trying to make sure.” We tried with this virus and we make sure that the American people know that aid is on the way, “he said.

Protesters at the recent Trump event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had to accept a disclaimer stating that they acknowledge that “there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place where people are present” and could not sue the campaign if they are infected.

Meadows noted that “they have seen no major outbreaks” after the Tulsa event, but told Fox News that “a few” had contracted coronavirus. She then clarified to reporters that she was referring to advanced staff members who tested positive.

When asked if the president’s message is that “we have to live with this,” Meadows essentially confirmed that, saying the economy would not close again.

“The thing is, we have to adjust our personal lifestyle temporarily because help is on the way,” adding that the administration is preparing plans to open schools in the fall.

He also announced that the President will sign executive orders as early as this week.

Analysis: While Trump criticizes the United States about the coronavirus, Republicans face a critical choice

“A preview here: We are going to see how we make sure China is addressed, how we take manufacturing from abroad to make sure the American worker is supported. We are also going to look at a number of immigration related issues. We are going to see a number of issues related to the prices of prescription drugs. And we’ll do it when Congress can’t do it, “he said.

Despite reports that he will lead the next round of coronavirus stimulus negotiations, Meadows said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will continue to lead the negotiations and the two have been working closely together. He said he hoped Mnuchin “will lead the charge that will likely come the second or third week of July.”

Meadows reiterated that Trump is “very much in favor” of another stimulus check, noting that a payroll tax deduction and manufacturing incentives are “critical” to the White House, but said there are no red lines “in this moment”.

And reporting that Russia offered rewards to Taliban soldiers for killing Americans, Meadows criticized Democrats in Congress and said the intelligence “was not really justified,” but said that if it were, the administration will defend American troops.

“If it’s about actionable intelligence, which it isn’t, if it’s about actionable intelligence, he will take … let me be clear. I will speak directly to the struggling American men and women: We stand behind you if people chase you, either Russia or someone, we support him, we will defend him. This president has made it clear, “he said.

CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Sara Westwood contributed to this report.