It’s not been a good week for Donald Trump, but it’s hard to recall the last time he’s had one of those. Fresh off looking like the bad guy for penning a letter to the WHO in which he threatens to pull US funding permanently, he now finds himself looking terribly misinformed as well.
Addressing his letter, which you can find here, The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal has fact-checked the president over one of the points he made in his aforementioned letter.
The point in question is the one Trump made about how his administration’s review of WHO’s response to the outbreak found that the organization ignored “credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from The Lancet medical journal.”
I bet Trump felt pretty justified when he (his team) wrote that. The only problem is that The Lancet didn’t actually publish any report in December 2019. Taking to Twitter, The Lancet said in a response to Trump’s letter that “this statement is factually incorrect” and that it “published no report in December, 2019, referring to a virus or outbreak in Wuhan or anywhere else in China.”
The Lancet goes on to state that the first reports the journal published were on January 24, 2020, in which it details the first 41 patients from Wuhan diagnosed with Covid-19.
The statement also shed light on the fact that the scientists and physicians who led the study were all from Chinese institutions and “worked with us to quickly make information about this new epidemic outbreak and the disease it caused fully and freely available to an international audience.”