US FDA commissioner declines to defend Trump's claim that 99% of COVID-19 cases are 'harmless'

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Jul 05, 2020, 08.01 PM(IST)

Donald Trump (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

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Trump claimed without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless," during his remarks on Saturday at the White House Independence Day event.

The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday refused to comment on President Donald Trump's claim that 99 per cent of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless". He repeatedly declined to say whether Trump's remark was true or false.

"I'm not going to get into who is right and who is wrong," Dr Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN.

Trump claimed without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless," during his remarks on Saturday at the White House Independence Day event.

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

"I totally support the CDC and the information that they're putting out with respect to this pandemic," Hahn said on Sunday.

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"What I'll say is that we have data in the White House task force. Those data show us that this is a serious problem. People need to take it seriously," Hahn said, adding, "if you don't follow local and state guidelines about what to do, if you're not following the CDC and White House task force guidelines, you are putting yourselves and you're putting your loved ones at risk."

While the World Health Organization has said the global fatality rate is likely less than 1%, it also stated that about 20% of all people who are diagnosed with coronavirus are sick enough to need oxygen or hospital care.

There have been more than 2.8 million cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 1,29,000 people have died.

Trump celebrated the Fourth of July at Mount Rushmore on Friday and at the White House's "Salute to America" on Saturday, where many attendees were seen neither socially distancing nor wearing masks.

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This year the Fourth of July celebrations were marred by a couple of factors -- rising number of coronavirus cases, the Black Lives Matter movement and Trump's Mt Rushmore speech.