October 6 Trump Covid-19 news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 1:59 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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9:32 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

More people have died from Covid-19 than in the past 5 flu seasons combined

Earlier this morning, President Trump falsely claimed in a tweet that coronavirus is “in most populations far less lethal" than the flu.

More people in the United States have died already from coronavirus than those who died from influenza during the past five flu seasons combined.

Here's a look at the numbers: The first person known to have died from coronavirus in the United States died on Feb. 29, according to Johns Hopkins University. Seven months later, more than 210,000 Americans are dead. Remember, the “typical” flu season runs about 7 months, from October to April.

According to CDC estimates, this is how many Americans have died from the flu in recent seasons:

  • 2019-2020: 22,000 (preliminary)
  • 2018-2019: 34,000 (preliminary)
  • 2017-2018: 61,000 (preliminary)
  • 2016-2017: 38,000
  • 2015-2016: 23,000
  • 2014-2015: 51,000
  • 2013-2014: 38,000
  • 2012-2013: 43,000
  • 2011-2012: 12,000
  • 2010-2011: 37,000

About 178,000 people died in the five flu seasons running from 2015 until 2020, while more than 210,000 people died of coronavirus this year.

9:33 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

GOP Sen. Thom Tillis says he's "on the path" to being in the Capitol for Barrett hearings

From CNN's Ali Main

Sen. Thom Tillis asks a question during a Judiciary Committee hearing on June 16, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Thom Tillis asks a question during a Judiciary Committee hearing on June 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Thom Tillis joined "Fox and Friends" Tuesday morning for his first television interview after being diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday.

The North Carolina senator said he feels "great" and is "symptom-free," after having "minor" symptoms on Saturday morning and that his vital signs are "above average."

President Trump called Tillis last night to check in, the senator said, adding "I'm glad to see he's doing well too. We're ready to get back to work."

Asked about Sen. Ron Johnson's comment that he would go to the Capitol in a "moon suit" to vote for the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court if he had to, Tillis said he thinks he would do the same as his fellow covid-positive Republican.

Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went on to say he's "on the path to being cleared" to be back in the Capitol in time for the hearings on October 12, after originally being asymptomatic and taking positive tests on Friday and Saturday. He predicted his participation in the hearings would probably be a "combination" of in-person and virtual.

"I'm following the doctor's guidance on self- quarantine, but as it's progressing my guess is I will join virtually for the first day or two and then I should be cleared for the vote later in the week," he said.

Tillis also addressed the recent reports that his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham sent romantic text messages to a woman who is not his wife.

"I think Cal owes the people of North Carolina a full explanation. At the debate stage last week, Cal said it's about integrity and I agree," Tillis said.

9:26 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

Trump removing mask at White House was “cruelest visual yet,” says woman who lost mom to Covid-19

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Fiana Tulip, whose mother died from coronavirus in late July, said President Trump’s presentation of his Covid-19 diagnosis has been “cruel.”

Tulip said her mother, a respiratory therapist at a hospital in Texas, died within one week of getting sick. 

“She told me a story about a woman visiting her dad and she refused to wear a mask because ‘her President didn't wear one.’ That's what she said when my mom asked her to put on a mask. After that, many patients and many health care workers got sick,” Tulip said on CNN’s “New Day.”

She called President Trump doffing his mask at the White House yesterday the “cruelest visual yet.” 

“He is just disregarding the 210,000 Americans who have lost their lives and the millions of people who are suffering,” Tulip said. 

“It's beyond irresponsible for the President of the United States to use his one experience with Covid-19 and generalize that to the millions of people who are suffering. Many are in peril and they have every reason to take precaution,” she added. “…I think he is sending the wrong message, and he is going to kill people as a result.” 


9:25 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

Lingering questions about Trump and his Covid-19 diagnosis 

Analysis by Chris Cillizza

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The 72 hours between President Trump's acknowledgment early Friday morning that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and his wildly irresponsible parade by supporters gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Sunday night have created more questions than they have answered.

Yes, we know that Trump had a high fever on Friday and that he was given supplemental oxygen before being transported to Walter Reed. (Although we only know that thanks to dogged reporting, since the White House medical staff purposely obfuscated both his condition and the treatments required to deal with it.)

And we know that at least eight people — including Trump and first lady Melania Trump — who attended last Saturday's announcement of Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden have since tested positive.

But beyond that, there are still a LOT of unknowns — questions that the White House either refuses to answer or simply cannot provide good answers on.

Below, a list of just some of those questions.

  • How sick is Trump, really?: We don't exactly know. Minutes after White House physician Sean Conley said on Saturday that "the President is doing very well," a "source familiar with the President's health" said this: "The President's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery." On Sunday, Conley said that Trump had a "high fever" on Friday morning and was given supplemental oxygen despite his resistance to doing so. "The President has continued to improve," said Conley, and Trump tweeted Monday that he's leaving the hospital after three nights, declaring he is "feeling really good!" and that coronavirus is nothing to fear. Here's what we do know about his stay: 1) Trump was having difficulty breathing on Friday and had a high fever 2) He was given supplemental oxygen at the White House 3) he was transported to Walter Reed Friday night 4) He had not required any additional oxygen since arriving at Walter Reed. And we also know that at 74 years old and obese, technically speaking, Trump is at a higher risk of having complications from Covid-19.
  • When did Trump last test negative for the virus?: We know that Trump tested positive twice on Thursday for the coronavirus — once a rapid test, the other a more reliable PCR test. But neither the White House nor Trump's doctor, Conley, have been willing to say when he last had a negative test. Which makes it hard to determine when Trump might have been contagious to others he was around.
  • Why did Trump go to New Jersey and do a fundraiser?: The White House has made clear that Trump didn't test positive until after he returned from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club where he held a donor event Thursday afternoon. (State health officials are seeking to contact more than 200 people who may have come into contact with Trump during the fundraiser.) Trump's trip is all the more baffling given that some members of the White House knew senior Trump aide Hope Hicks had tested positive as early as Thursday morning. As New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a tweet on Monday afternoon: "The President & his staff acted recklessly in coming to New Jersey knowing that they had been exposed to someone with a confirmed positive test."

Read the full story here.

9:02 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

Infectious disease expert says Covid-19 is deadlier than the flu after Trump downplays virus

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

An infectious disease expert says that coronavirus is more deadly than the flu, as President Trump tweets a false claim that coronavirus is “in most populations far less lethal” than the flu.

“This is just a distraction,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “We don't want to minimize flu, we want you to get your flu shot. We don't want to have to try to deal with flu during the middle of a Covid pandemic. But make no mistake about it, Covid is in a category all unto its own.”

Osterholm told CNN’s “New Day” that he is worried about an increase in deaths in the US during the next few months. 

“There are a number of us who fear that over the next 6 to 12 weeks, we could see a very substantial increase in Covid-19 cases that would far surpass even the peak we saw earlier this summer. There’s just no comparison here right now at all,” he said. 

Osterholm recommends that if you feel sick and feel like you have trouble breathing or a loss of taste or smell, see your doctor right away. 


8:49 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

Biden will call on Americans to come together in speech at Gettysburg today

From CNN's Jessica Dean

A canon stands at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on August 11.
A canon stands at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on August 11. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With less than a month until the election and as President Trump continues his Covid-19 recovery at the White House, former vice president Joe Biden will return to his message of unity today, using Gettysburg, a significant Civil War battlefield where President Lincoln gave his historic speech, as his backdrop.

According to a Biden aide, the former vice president will call on Americans to come together in this moment.

“He’ll highlight the need for people to work together and to reach across the aisle in order to address the crises we face. He’ll remind voters that we are in a battle for the soul of the nation. But it’s a battle that we’ve won again and again throughout American history, and that we can and will come together and win again,” the aide said.

 Gettysburg was selected for its symbolism, according to the aide. 

“Gettysburg has deep significance and symbolism for both the cost of division and the strength of American ideals,” the aide told CNN.

Last night, Biden tweeted a video in response to Trump removing his mask upon returning to the White House. It’s a video split-screen of Trump removing his mask and Biden putting a mask on. The text reads: “Masks matter. They save lives.”

8:28 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

Trump falsely claims coronavirus is "in most populations far less lethal" than the flu

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Downplaying the threat of the virus he’s currently fighting, President Trump compared Covid-19 to the flu, again, tweeting that “many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” and falsely claiming coronavirus is “in most populations far less lethal!!!” 

“Are we going to close down our Country?,” Trump asked in a tweet Tuesday morning. “No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” 

More than 210,000 Americans have died of the Covid in 10 months. It is more deadly than the flu. The President just spent three nights in the hospital after testing positive for it. On Feb. 7, Trump told journalist Bob Woodward that coronavirus was "more deadly than even your strenuous flus."

"This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward.

Here's Trump's full tweet this morning:

8:38 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

CNN Poll: Biden expands lead over Trump after President's Covid-19 diagnosis and contentious debate

From CNN's Jennifer Agiesta

Joe Biden's advantage over President Trump has expanded and the former vice president now holds his widest lead of the cycle with less than a month remaining before Election Day, according to a new nationwide CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

Among likely voters, 57% say they back Biden and 41% Trump in the poll that was conducted entirely after the first debate and mostly after the President's coronavirus infection was made public.

Regardless of Biden's national lead, the race for the White House will ultimately come down to a handful of swing states that will drive the outcome in the Electoral College.

The former vice president leads in several of those critical battlegrounds, but by more narrow margins than his national advantage. A poll is not a prediction of how the election will ultimately turn out but instead is a snapshot of the race as it currently stands.

Likely voters broadly prefer Biden over Trump on a number of issues that voters consider critically important in the race, including the coronavirus outbreak (59% prefer Biden, 38% Trump), health care (59% to 39%), racial inequality in America (62% to 36%), nominations to the Supreme Court (57% to 41%) and crime and safety (55% to 43%). The two are about even over who would better handle the economy (50% say Biden, 48% Trump), similar to where they have been among registered voters in recent polling.

Biden's favorability ratings have also improved, with 52% of Americans now saying they have a positive impression of the former vice president, compared with 39% who have a positive view of Trump.

Likely voters are more apt to consider Biden the candidate who would unite the country (61% Biden to 33% Trump), who is honest and trustworthy (58% Biden to 33% Trump), who cares about people like you (58% Biden to 38% Trump), who has a clear plan to solve the nation's problems (55% to 39%) and who would keep Americans safe from harm (55% to 43%).

See the full findings of the poll here.

View more 2020 presidential election polling here

8:49 a.m. ET, October 6, 2020

White House declines offers from CDC to help with contact tracing

By CNN's Nick Valencia

U.S. Marine One, with President Donald Trump onboard, prepares to land on the South Lawn of the White House on October 5.
U.S. Marine One, with President Donald Trump onboard, prepares to land on the South Lawn of the White House on October 5. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House has declined offers from the Centers for Disease Control to help investigate the outbreak surrounding President Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis, according to a federal health official.

The offer by the CDC to engage with such efforts as running contact tracing occurred  almost immediately after the president made public he had contracted coronavirus. Despite the concerns expressed by those at the CDC, including Dr. Robert Redfield, officials at the White House turned down the CDC’s offer to help, the official said. 

The offer was repeated in a phone call on Monday, according to the source.

But White House has shown little indication it is conducting a comprehensive effort to properly trace contacts from those exposed at events like the Supreme Court nomination ceremony where almost no masks were worn and there was no social distancing both at the outdoor event and an indoor reception.

Some attendees said they have had no outreach and others have said even when notified they were not asked the slate of questions typically used to document who else may have been exposed through contact.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said positive cases are taken seriously.

“The White House has plans and procedures in place that incorporate current CDC guidelines and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure and has established a robust contact tracing program led by the White House Medical Unit with CDC integration,” Deere said in a statement.

A WH official says a CDC epidemiologist has been detailed to the White House since March and is assisting.  

The DC government, where many of the attendees reside, has gotten no response from the White House despite multiple efforts by political and health officials to get information. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday there had been no “substantial contact.”

Mayor Bowser spokesperson Susana Castillo says there have been “multiple attempts” since Friday to contact the WH at both the political and public health levels.

This past weekend, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House would not be providing public information about how many staffers on the White House campus become sick, citing privacy concerns.

McEnany herself publicly announced yesterday she was infected. Two of her aides have also tested positive.