Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Wednesday that President Trump‘s initially slow response to the coronavirus has increased its domestic death toll.
“I think his inaction has cost the lives of many, many Americans,” the 2020 presidential candidate said on ABC’s “The View,” appearing remotely. “Instead of rallying the scientific community, instead of educating the American people about the need for social distancing and the other things that we have to do.”
“Trump from the very beginning downplayed the threat of this virus,” he said.”The idea that today we have doctors and nurses all over this country who do not have masks that cost 50 cents or a dollar apiece is unbelievable. We don’t have enough ventilators, gloves, gowns — that speaks to a dysfunctional healthcare system.”
A number of Democrats, including Sanders’s primary rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, have hit the president on his administration’s slow response to the crisis.
Trump has defended his response to the early weeks of the pandemic, saying he was acting based on the best available information at the time.
“I’ve gotten to know these professional. They’re incredible,” Trump said in late February of the health experts in his administration. “And everything is under control. I mean, they’re very, very cool. They’ve done it, and they’ve done it well. Everything is really under control.”
On March 7, speaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said, “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.”
Trump has said he would rate his response to the coronavirus as a 10 out of 10.
Trump’s coronavirus task force revealed models on Tuesday that show between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from coronavirus even if they continue to practice strict social distancing measures enacted by the administration in March.
Without any measures to mitigate the disease’s spread, the projections from the task force could jump to between 1.5 million and 2.2 million deaths from the disease.
The Trump administration has urged people to avoid restaurants and bars, bypass discretionary travel, and work from home if possible while avoiding gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
Trump announced Sunday that he would extend nationwide social distancing guidelines until April 30.
As of Wednesday, there were more than 187,000 positive coronavirus cases in the U.S., with nearly 4,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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