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‘This is deadly stuff’: President Trump played down coronavirus to stop panic, new book says

President Donald Trump told Bob Woodward in a new book that he played down the coronavirus

President Donald Trump speaks in Monroe, Louisiana, in November 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana, in November.
Evan Vucci, Associated Press

President Donald Trump reportedly said that he knew weeks before the novel coronavirus hit the United States that the virus was contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

Legendary journalist Bob Woodward has a new book — called “Rage” — that details how Trump responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “This is deadly stuff,” Trump said, according to the book, CNN reports.
  • Trump said the president is meant “to keep our country safe.”
  • “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
  • “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

You can listen to it below:

The Washington Post and CNN were both given advance copies of the book. Details were first published on Wednesday.

According to The New York Times, Trump originally said in public that the coronavirus could disappear. He said the virus would disappear by April “when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”