AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s shaky claims on virus, Dem misfires

WASHINGTON — Impatient to return to the campaign trail, President Donald Trump dubiously claimed he’s fully recovered and immune from COVID-19, hailed a cure that isn’t so and declared the coronavirus is “disappearing” even as cases spiked.

The comments over the weekend capped a week that featured the only vice presidential debate of 2020 and Trump’s hurried approach to leaving his convalescence behind and getting on with the campaign for the Nov. 3 election.

With confirmation hearings beginning Monday for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, made an unsubstantiated claim that Abraham Lincoln would’ve waited until after the election to fill the vacancy if he were in Trump’s shoes.

A look at the claims and reality:

CORONAVIRUS

TRUMP: “I’m immune … It could be a lifetime.” — interview Sunday on Fox News.

TRUMP: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it.” — tweet Sunday.

THE FACTS: That’s far from certain, and Twitter later flagged his tweet with a fact-check warning.

Some medical experts have been skeptical that Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early in the course of his illness. Nor can he be completely assured of immunity following his illness.

Trump was referring to a memo released Saturday by the White House in which Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley said Trump met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognized standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk. The memo did not declare Trump had tested negative for the virus.

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Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist and department chairman at the Yale School of Public Health, said the White House appeared to be following CDC guidelines for when it is appropriate to end isolation after mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

But Ko cautioned that those who have had severe cases of the diseases should isolate for 20 days, not just 10 days as Trump has done. He noted that Trump was treated with the steroid dexamethasone, which is normally reserved for patients with severe COVID-19.

Dr. Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the doctor’s letter does not provide enough information to be confident that Trump can no longer infect others. He said Trump’s use of steroids could prolong viral shedding so the CDC’s 10-day standard may not be enough.

As to immunity, while there’s evidence that reinfection is unlikely for at least three months even for those with a mild case of COVID-19, very few diseases leave people completely immune for life. Antibodies are only one piece of the body’s defenses, and they naturally wane over time.

“Certainly it’s presumptuous to say it’s a lifetime,” Ko said.

TRUMP, on the pandemic: “It’s going to disappear; it is disappearing.” — remarks Saturday.

THE FACTS: There is no sign the virus is “disappearing,” or “rounding a corner” as he sometimes puts it, despite Trump’s repeated assertions since first …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Politics

      

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