Trump claims 99% of coronavirus cases are 'totally harmless', Bay Area epidemiologist says otherwise

Kristen Sze Image
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Trump claims '99%' of COVID-19 cases are 'totally harmless', SF doctor says otherwise
Dr. George Rutherford, UCSF's head of disease and global epidemiology was on ABC7 News at 3 p.m. to answer coronavirus related questions and address Trump's COVID-19 remarks.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Over the Fourth of July weekend, President Donald Trump said the U.S. was testing too much and falsely asserted that "by so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless."

RELATED: FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn declines to back Trump's claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are 'harmless'

Dr. George Rutherford, UCSF's head of disease and global epidemiology was on ABC7 News at 3 p.m. Monday and commented on President Trump's COVID-19 remarks.

"No, not even close, not even close to a reasonable interpretation," Rutherford said.

He added, "It's a much more virulent disease that he gives it credit for. He should talk to his pal Boris Johnson about how he had to go to the ICU. "

Rutherford said around 40% of the people who test positive for COVID-19 develop recognizable symptoms, 20% develop more severe symptoms, which could lead to hospitalizations and at most, 12% have to be hospitalized.

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COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing in the Bay Area and the rise in California cases are "hugely driven" by the rise in cases in Southern California near the San Joaquin Valley. Nationally, there's been a "very rapid" increase in cases since Memorial Day. There's been more than 40,000 new cases a day, Rutherford said.

We also consulted Dr. Rutherford on which activities he would engage in amid the pandemic.

UCSF Dr. George Rutherford rated which activities he would engage in amid the pandemic.

He gave a hard "no" to indoor dining, indoor gyms and amusement parks.

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Outdoor dining, outdoor gym classes, hair and nail salons are "okay" as long as masks and social distancing are practiced.

Staying in hotels, going on plane rides, visiting zoos, churches, museums and social hangouts with friends all fell into the category where it was "tough" for Rutherford to answer since he said they all depend on physical distancing, wearing masks and if you're hanging out with people from the same social bubble.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Rutherford in the media player below:

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