The biggest pandemic since the Spanish Flu is sweeping the globe.
Almost 200,000 people are dead. Mass graves have been dug. One-third of the world population is in lockdown. Economies are crashing. A recession, perhaps even a depression, looks imminent.
And the President of the United States is suggesting that people inject themselves with hand sanitiser.
Stanley Kubrick couldn’t make this stuff up.
Throughout the unfolding crisis, which has already taken 50,000 American lives, Donald Trump has denied and made up medical advice seemingly on the fly.
As this huge crisis has unfolded, it has been hard to keep up, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the wildest things to come out of Mr Trump’s mouth.
Read it and weep.
Trump appears on CNBA, and when asked if he was worried the new coronavirus would become a pandemic he said: “No, not at all.”
“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
February 7 and February 19
Coronavirus would weaken “when we get into April, in the warmer weather – that has a very negative effect on that, and that type of a virus.”
“We are very close to a vaccine.”
(Within hours the White House claimed he was actually referring to Ebola.)
“We’re going very substantially down, not up” and “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
“One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
“You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
Experts respond, in kind. “No” they said.
Then: “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
Also March 2
Pharmaceutical companies are going “to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon.”
A vaccine is not expected for 12 to 18 months. We have known this since January.
“This blindsided the world.”
Mr Trump said the Obama administration’s response to the H1N1 was: “a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now.”
But the truth is President Barak Obama declared a public health emergency two weeks after the first US cases of Swine Flu. It took Mr Trump seven weeks.
“I’ve always known this is a real – this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic … I’ve always viewed it as very serious.”
Mr Trump said the Food and Drug Administration had approved the antimalarial drug chloroquine to treat COVID-19.
“Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it’s – it was approved very, very quickly and it’s now approved by prescription,” he said.
The drug still needed clinical testing.
After protesters gathered in a handful of states to oppose social distancing, Mr Trump said they were “doing social distancing” themselves and “were all six feet apart.”
But in truth, protesters clogged the streets.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning … it would be interesting to check that,” Trump said.
“It sounds interesting to me,” he added.
He’s since claimed he was joking.