“It’s far too many — one person is too many for this,” he added on the death toll, before taking credit for preventing more fatalities with his travel bans on foreign nationals from China and Europe.
Trump had previously seized on the estimate of 50,000 to 60,000 because of his administration’s preference for a model developed by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The latest forecast from that model showed a much lower death toll than earlier projected, as well as a much lower number of fatalities than many other epidemiological models.
Trump also ducked a question Monday about his confidence in Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar following reports that the White House has explored replacing him.
Asked why Trump still trusted Azar despite his assurances to the public in January that the virus would not impact Americans’ day-to-day lives, Trump did not defend the HHS leader. Instead, he pivoted to attacking “people in the other party who have said the same thing and with even more confidence.”