Donald Trump says coronavirus 'affects virtually nobody' as US death toll hits 200,000

Donald Trump has claimed coronavirus ‘affects virtually nobody’ as the number of Americans killed by Covid-19 hit 200,000. Speaking at a campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, on Monday night, the President of the United States initially claimed Covid was only dangerous for older people, before contradicting himself.

He told supporters: ‘It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That’s what it really affects. In some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody.

‘They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.’

Trump made the claim as John Hopkins University said the US would officially hit 200,000 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday. Johns Hopkins total sits at 199,890 US deaths as of Tuesday morning.

The United States has recorded over a fifth of the total worldwide coronavirus deaths – 965,529 – and has also seen more infections that any other country – 6.85 million.

Trump made the remarks a week after investigative journalist Bob Woodward revealed the president had admitted ‘playing down’ coronavirus earlier this year.

He also admitted to Woodward over 18 interviews for new book Rage that Covid affected ‘plenty of young people.’

Trump said: ‘Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob.

‘But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older.’

The president said he had deliberately played down coronavirus to avoid panicking people.

He has been heavily-criticized over his handling of the pandemic, which saw Trump liken it to a regular flu during February and March, and claiming it would ‘wash through’ the US without causing much harm.

Trump also sparked an outcry in April after suggesting an injection of disinfectant could be used to treat coronavirus.

Scientists say that while coronavirus seems less likely to seriously harm young sufferers, much remains unknown about the virus and its long term effects.

They warn younger people to be as vigilant about avoiding it as anyone else, and highlighted the risk of a young person with no symptoms giving the virus to a vulnerable loved one who could suffer serious side effects.

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