THE PRESIDENT: And, excuse me, does anybody really believe this number? Does anybody really believe this number?
DR. BIRX: I put China on there so you could see how basically unrealistic this could be. When highly developed healthcare delivery systems — the United Kingdom and France and Belgium and Italy and Spain — with extraordinary doctors and nurses and equipment have case fatality rates in the 20s, up to 45, and Belgium’s extraordinarily competent healthcare delivery system, and then China at .33, you realize that these numbers, even — and this includes the doubled number out of Wuhan.
Q Mr. President, you’ve mentioned and the Doctor has mentioned China a few times today, that — clearly suggesting that the data has not been good and (inaudible) —
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you tell me: Do you think their data is good, when you see that? Do you think that — do you think that’s correct? Okay?
Q It was — it was a pretty —
THE PRESIDENT: Do you honestly believe that’s correct?
Q It was a pretty dramatic contrast. So my question for your, sir —
THE PRESIDENT: Dramatic? Yeah, I’d say it’s dramatic.
Q So my question for you, sir, is —
THE PRESIDENT: Why didn’t the — why didn’t the press — why didn’t you people figure that out though? Why do we have to put up a chart? It’s — the number is imposs- — it’s an impossible number to hit. But why haven’t you come up and said that?
Q The question, sir, is: Is China now cooperating with the United States to figure out what happened? And what do you want from them now?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they said they’re doing an investigation — that they’re doing an investigation. So let’s see what happens with their investigation. But we’re doing investigations also.
Yeah, go ahead. Please.
Q Thank you, sir. You’ve spoken — we heard Dr. Birx, a moment ago, say that every country has a responsibility to tell the rest of the world what’s going on. You’ve talked repeatedly about how this could have been stopped in the past. I know you don’t want to telegraph what you would do, but do you think that there should be some consequences if, in the end, you know, China was responsible for all of this?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if they were knowingly responsible, certainly. If they did — if it was a mistake: a mistake is a mistake. But if it were knowingly responsible, yeah, then there should be consequences.
Our relationship with China was good until they did this. Once we found out about this — once we found out — look, we just made a trade deal where China is going to have to buy $250 billion a year on our product. Fifty billion from the farmers. Forty to fifty billion from the farmers. The relationship was good when we were signing that, but then all of a sudden, you hear about this.
So it’s a big — it’s a big difference. You know, the question was asked, “Would you be angry at China?” Well, the answer might very well be a very resounding “yes,” but it depends: Was it a mistake that got out of control or was it done deliberately? Okay? That’s a big difference between those two. In either event, they should have let us go in. You know, we asked to go in very early, and they didn’t want us in. I think they were embarrassed. I think they knew it was something bad, and I think they were embarrassed.
Source: The White House