We now know that in late January, his national security adviser told him the coronavirus was the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency. A week later, he told Woodward that the disease was “more deadly even than your strenuous flus”.
Did he bother to share this with the American people so they could protect their own lives? Not quite. For the rest of February and March, he told the world it would disappear like a miracle, that it was no worse than the flu. “I wanted to always play it down,” he told Woodward. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”