Donald Trump on Wednesday falsely claimed that Covid-19 was “virtually gone” when he left the office when the US actually witnessed 4,400 deaths in a 24-hour span on his last day — the most ever.
“[Biden] is now president and he’s doing a lousy job with coronavirus. Coronavirus is back. If that ever happened to me where it came back, OK, when I left it was virtually gone. It was over. Now it’s coming back through the Delta [variant] and I don’t know if you even want to call it that,” Mr Trump said on Fox Business.
While the former president blamed Joe Biden for the rise in infections, the country actually set a record of most Covid-19 deaths in a single day on his last day at office on 20 January.
The US reported about 4,400 deaths on 19 January, breaking the previous record of 7 January when 4,110 people died of Covid-19. His last day in office was also overshadowed by the grim milestone of the US crossing 400,000 deaths from the virus. The US recorded 178,935 infections on that day.
In his interview with host Maria Bartiromo, Mr Trump suggested that vaccine booster shots are not necessary but they are being pushed by companies for making money.
His views on boosters came after he endorsed vaccines, saying “you get better” by taking vaccines.
“I recommend that people take it,” he said. “I also recommend that you have your freedoms to do what you want to do.”
“Now one thing: When you have the vaccine, people that do — and it’s a very small number relatively, but people that do get it — get better much quicker. And it’s very important to know. They don’t get nearly as sick, and they get better. [Sen] Lindsey Graham is an example. He said, if I didn’t have this vaccine, I would have died,” Mr Trump added.
But when the host again asked him about his thoughts about the booster shot, Mr Trump called it a “business.”
“That sounds to me like a money-making operation for Pfizer,” he said.
“Think of the money involved. An extra shot … How good a business is that? If you’re a pure businessman, you’d say, ‘you know what, let’s give them another shot,’ that’s another $10 billion of money coming in – the whole thing is crazy.”
His remarks on booster shots came on the day the US government announced it will begin the third phase of vaccination drive by giving booster shots to people in late September. The booster shot is suggested to be taken within eight months of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Mr Trump also took credit for developing the Covid-19 vaccine through its “Operation Warp Speed,” which was set up to fund the development of vaccines. However, Pfizer did not participate in the operation and took the funding from the government for its delivery after it was developed.