US President Donald Trump at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on October 4 2020. Picture: DONALD TRUMP VIATWITTER VIAREUTERS
US President Donald Trump at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on October 4 2020. Picture: DONALD TRUMP VIATWITTER VIAREUTERS

Boston — US President Donald Trump is considering a televised address to the nation as he convalesces from his coronavirus infection. He again likened the disease to the less dangerous seasonal flu, urging Americans to learn to live with Covid-19 while overstating the number of annual flu deaths.

Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening after a four-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre for treatment for Covid-19. Aides hope to keep him at the presidential residence and away from the Oval Office but are uncertain how long that will last, according to people familiar with the matter.

After telling Americans not to fear the virus or let it “dominate” them, Trump noted that the nation doesn’t shut down because of the flu.

The US hasn’t lost 100,000 people to the flu in a single season in more than a decade, according to estimates by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Comparisons between deaths caused by Covid-19 and the flu aren’t simple because of differences in the way they’re counted, but there is broad agreement among epidemiologists that the coronavirus is substantially more dangerous.

The president and his campaign have sought to cast his return as a triumphant presidential moment just weeks before election day, even as recent polls show him falling badly behind his challenger Joe Biden.

The president’s running even further behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden in a new poll before the November 3 election. Leaders have sometimes seen bumps in approval when they fall ill, as happened with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he contracted the virus earlier this year.

Trump’s deficit to Biden has widened to 16 points, a CNN poll released on Tuesday showed, with 57% of likely voters backing Biden and 41% supporting the incumbent. The poll was conducted after the first debate and mostly after Trump’s coronavirus infection became public.

One key group backing Biden in the poll was people over the age of 65, 60% of whom supported him, compared to 39% who backed Trump. Older voters were a key part of Trump’s coalition in 2016, with 53% picking him according to a Pew post-election survey.

Bloomberg

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