Trump disputes WHO on coronavirus death rate, cites his ‘hunch’

RNA - Asked about the WHO's coronavirus fatality rate findings during an interview with Fox News  on Wednesday, Trump said he thinks the true death rate is a "fraction of 1 percent."

"Now, this is just my hunch ... based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it's very mild," Trump added.

The director general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Tuesday that the global death rate from coronavirus stands at 3.4 percent, an increase from previous estimate of 2 percent.

Critics said the US president should not use his speculation to make a scientific analysis.

"There’s really no excuse for the president to be spreading this kind of misinformation to downplay a deadly disease," tweeted the Democratic National Committee's "War Room."

The number 3.4 percent is based on the current data, and experts do believe the number could change.

As of Wednesday, the global death toll from the coronavirus neared 3,300, with over 95,000 confirmed cases around the world. 

Tensions over how to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus have escalated in the United States as the country’s death toll continues to climb and members of Congress criticized the government’s ability to increase testing fast enough to deal with the crisis.

The US death toll from coronavirus infections rose to 11 on Wednesday, 10 in Washington state and one in California, as new cases emerged around New York City and Los Angeles.

However, due to a shortage of coronavirus testing kits in the US, a significant amount of people have not been tested for the virus.

The Trump administration is facing growing pressure to demonstrate that it is ramping up efforts to combat the spreading coronavirus. US Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that any American can now be tested for the virus if a doctor deems it necessary.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill expressed skepticism about claims from US health officials that testing for the virus would be extensively available by the end of the week. “I’m hearing from health professionals that’s unrealistic,” Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state said at a Senate hearing.

The coronavirus chaos has sent shoppers across the country into panic-buying mode, with nonperishable foods, disinfectants, bottled water and toilet paper flying off store shelves.

Social media users shared images of long lines, crowded stores, signs warning of low or nonexistent inventories, and empty shelves at supermarkets and big-box stores across the US as Americans were stocking up on food, water and medicines amid rising coronavirus death toll.