President Donald Trump holds up a a map showing the United States as No. 1 in preparedness during a press briefing on the coronavirus at the White House on Feb. 26, 2020.
The Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidential election Joe Biden says Donald Trump knowingly and willingly lied to the American people about the threat posed by the novel coronavirus.
The accusation follows the publication of excerpts from a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, who spoke to trump in February and March.
Trump told Woodward how deadly COVID-19 was but insisted he wanted to play down the risks.
"I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic. It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know the touch, you don't have to touch things, right? But the air, you just breathe the air, that's how it's passed. So that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your, you know your, even your strenuous flus."
Trump has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic, particularly in the early days of the outbreak in the U.S.
The country has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world at over 6.3 million, with more than 190,700 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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