Donald Trump: Press briefings not worth my time

Updated: Apr 27, 2020, 08:23 IST | Agencies | Washington

Says US President Donald Trump two days after the suggesting injecting disinfectant to kill the novel Coronavirus, appears to confirm halting the briefings out of frustration with questions about handling of the pandemic

A day after his disinfectant suggestion, Donald Trump said he was speaking 'sarcastically'. Pic/AFP
A day after his disinfectant suggestion, Donald Trump said he was speaking 'sarcastically'. Pic/AFP

US President Donald Trump tweeted that his daily Coronavirus briefings were not worth his time, two days after sparking a furore by suggesting patients might be injected with disinfectant to kill an infection.

He appeared to confirm media reports that he was considering halting the briefings, which dominate early-evening cable television news for sometimes more than two hours, out of frustration with questions about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, the US leader stunned viewers by saying doctors might treat people infected with the coronavirus by shining ultraviolet light inside their bodies, or with injections of household disinfectant.

After a strong rebuff of his suggestion by top medical experts and disinfectant manufacturers, Trump on Friday claimed he had been speaking "sarcastically." But he limited that day's briefing, which usually includes himself, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, to just 19 minutes, and did not take any questions from reporters.

And on Saturday, after 50 briefings over two months, the White House did not hold one at all. Trump has used the briefings to occupy television screens and promote his administration's policies, fend off critics and attack political rivals — from opposition Democrats to China to the US media.

Nearly 2,500 dead in 24 hrs
The US recorded 2,494 more coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, according to figures reported Saturday night by Johns Hopkins University. The country now has an overall death toll of 53,511, with 9,36,293 confirmed infections, according to a tally at 8.30 pm (0030 GMT Sunday). The US is by far the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic.

No cases in Wuhan hospitals for 1st time

The number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients in China's Wuhan, where the virus first emerged before turning out to be a pandemic, on Sunday dropped to zero for the first time. The last patient in Wuhan was cured on Friday, Mi Feng, a spokesperson for China's National Health Commission. Hubei has so far reported 68,128 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 50,333 in Wuhan. The revised figure raised China's overall COVID-19 death toll to 4,632. The total number of cases as of Thursday stood at 82,692.

Italy ponders what went wrong

As Italy prepares to emerge from the West's first and most extensive lockdown, it is increasingly clear that something went terribly wrong in Lombardy, the hardest-hit region. Italy's total of 26,000 fatalities lags behind only the United States in the global toll. Prosecutors are deciding whether to lay any criminal blame for the hundreds of dead in nursing homes, many of whom aren't even counted in Lombardy's official death toll of 13,269.

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