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Trump says Covid-19 is 'worse attack' than 9-11 and backtracks on disbanding taskforce

“This is worse than Pearl Harbour. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” the US president said.

Donald Trump participating in a tour of a Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment.
Donald Trump participating in a tour of a Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment.
Image: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

Updated May 6th 2020, 9:53 PM

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the United States harder than Pearl Harbour in World War II or the 9/11 attacks.

“We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had on our country. This is really the worst attack we’ve ever had,” he told reporters at the White House today.

“This is worse than Pearl Harbour. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” he said.

The surprise Japanese attack in 1941 on the Pearl Harbour naval base in Hawaii drew the United States into World War II.

The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 killed some 3,000 people, mostly in the World Trade Center in New York, triggering two decades of US wars and anti-terrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

Trump also insisted that his coronavirus taskforce will remain in place – less than 24 hours after suggesting it would be disbanded.

Economy

Trump yesterday made a push for the economic reopening of the US. With experts warning of a severe global recession, many governments have been easing stay-at-home measures to try to revive economies.

“We can’t keep our country closed for the next five years,” Trump said on a trip to a mask-making factory in Arizona, conceding that some people would be “badly affected”.

“I think we’re starting to look at the Memorial Day [25 May] window, early June window” for shutting it down, Vice President Mike Pence said.

Trump urged US states to ease restrictions as he attempts to fire up the world’s biggest economy before the November presidential election, when the high death toll and millions of lost jobs could cost him dearly.

Nearly 260,000 people have died of Covid-19 so far around the world. The US is the worst-hit country, with more than 71,000 deaths.

The US registered 2,333 more deaths over 24 hours yesterday evening, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, more than twice as many as the day before.

Some scientific models suggest the figure will rise to 3,000 a day by June.

© – AFP 2020

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