Trump ‘worried journalists want to deliberately catch Covid-19 to infect him’
Donald Trump is privately paranoid coronavirus-carrying journalists are trying to infect him, it is claimed.
The "germaphobe" President is said to be increasingly worried he cannot control the spread of the global COVID-19 epidemic and the impact it could have on the economy.
A White House insider reportedly told Vanity Fair Trump told his aides last week he is scared journalists will deliberately infect themselves with coronavirus to pass it on to on Air Force One.
The source alleges the president is "privately melting down" over the contagion risk.
They added Trump has asked feds to set up a coronavirus screening program and refuse anyone who has a cough from the White House estate.
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Another source told the magazine “Donald is a famous germaphobe. He hates it if someone is eating nachos and dips a chip back in after taking a bite. He calls them 'double-dippers'."
According to the report, despite his fears, Trump is determined to continue on the election campaign trail and is refusing to shut down any Republican rallies.
A former West Wing official said: “He is going to resist until the very last minute.
“He may take suggestions to stop shaking hands, but in terms of shutting stuff down, his position is: ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’”
On Friday, the President played down the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis to a crowd of supporters.
He accused the media of going in "hysteria mode" over the epidemic.
On Monday he tweeted: "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu.
"It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that."
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The number of confirmed US cases has reached 566, including 22 deaths, according to state public health authorities.
34 states and the District of Columbia have reported to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) infections of the respiratory illness.
The White House is now looking to bolster the economy as coronavirus worries batter US markets.
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As worries over the virus deepened, the Dow Jones fell a record 2,000 points on Monday, when trading opened and the S&P 500 posted its largest single-day percentage drop since December 2008, the depths of the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, Trump, who often points to the stock market as a gauge of his economic record, criticised news media organisations' coverage of the outbreak in a tweet and accused Democrats of hyping the situation "far beyond what the facts would warrant.
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