Report: Trump Spreading Unfounded Claims About China’s Coronavirus
President Donald Trump issued a tweet on Friday morning following his phone call with China’s president, claiming that the coronavirus would begin to fade and eventually disappear as warmer spring weather arrives, according to CNN.
But experts caution that this might not be the case, as no one knows what to expect from the novel virus at this early stage of the game.
Trump said President Xi Jinping is "strong, sharp and powerfully focused" on containing the outbreak, adding that he believes Xi will find success in his efforts, "especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone."
Infectious disease experts told CNN that Trump is jumping the gun with his prediction, pointing out just how little is known about the new coronavirus — and therefore, whether it will hold to patterns seen in other viruses, such as the flu.
"It would be reckless to assume that things will quiet down in spring and summer," Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, told the news outlet.
"We don't really understand the basis of seasonality, and of course we know absolutely nothing about this particular virus,” he explained.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who has long advised the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), agreed, saying that Trump’s “hope is our hope” but adding: "It's a respiratory virus, and we know respiratory viruses are very seasonal, but not exclusively. One would hope that the gradual spring will help this virus recede. We can't be sure of that.”
Some coronaviruses, which are commonly found in the environment, are seasonal. But because all viruses do not behave the same, it is impossible to know whether the new strain will follow suit and begin to fade as spring draws near.