While speaking from the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Donald Trump called the ongoing coronavirus pandemic an “attack” on the U.S. worse than the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
“We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had in our country. This is really the worst attack we’ve ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center. There’s never been an attack like this,” Trump said.
Trump made the remarks in the Oval Office where he was signing a proclamation recognizing National Nurses Day and to discuss the ongoing efforts of his coronavirus task force.
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic death toll has been higher than the two historic attacks. The Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese bombing attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the U.S. into World War II, saw more than 2,300 people killed.
The Sept. 11, 2001 hijacking attacks involving multiple airliners being crashed into buildings saw around 3,000 people killed.
In terms of comparison, the U.S. has seen more than 72,000 coronavirus related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus case tracking map. Globally, the number of coronavirus deaths has surpassed 264,000. In total More than 3.7 million people in 187 countries have been infected.
By another metric of comparison, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided preliminary estimates of the 2019-2020 influenza season, indicating between 24,000 and 62,000 deaths from the flu.
Over the weekend Trump projected the likely coronavirus death estimates in the U.S. could be revised upward from around 60,000 deaths to 75,000 80,000 or even 100,000. He provided his assessment in a return to a prior prediction range of between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from the virus, provided by White House Coronavirus Task Force members Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
Earlier on in Trump’s Wednesday remarks he announced a proclamation honoring National Nurses Day and indicated his White House Coronavirus Task Force would remain open, though its focus would shift more towards advising the reopening of the U.S. economy following many lockdown orders across the nation.