It’s the One-Year Anniversary of Trump’s Worst Predictions on COVID-19

On Feb. 27, 2020, Donald Trump hosted a Black History Month event where he talked about the COVID-19 pandemic.Tia Dufour/White House/Planet Pix/Zuma

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It’s the one-year anniversary of former President Donald Trump’s fateful remarks dismissing the COVID-19 pandemic. At a Black History Month event on February 27, 2020, Trump predicted:

And you know what?  If we were doing a bad job, we should also be criticized.  But we have done an incredible job.  We’re going to continue.  It’s going to disappear.  One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.  And from our shores, we—you know, it could get worse before it gets better.  It could maybe go away.  We’ll see what happens.  Nobody really knows.

The fact is, the greatest experts—I’ve spoken to them all.  Nobody really knows. 

Two days after Trump’s comments, health officials in Washington State announced the first known coronavirus death in the United States (though later on the first known death was revised to February 6). Now, at the one-year mark of Trump’s denial, the United States has had more than 500,000 people die from COVID-19, roughly equal to the population of a major city like Atlanta. The toll has been worse for people of color, disproportionately taking Black, Latino, and Native American lives.

It also wasn’t true that nobody really knew what would happen. While CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified that same day before Congress that his agency “believes that the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is low,” the Trump administration received warnings from top scientists and national security experts on the threat of a pandemic as early as January. Despite these warnings, the Trump administration failed to take needed steps to ensure the supply of medical supplies, issue mask mandates, and urge Americans away from large gatherings. 

Read Mother Jonescomprehensive timeline for more on Trump’s deadly denial.

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And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

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