Former President Donald Trump estimated up to 100 million people would have died from COVID-19 without his administration’s efforts to spur the development of vaccines.

If not for Operation Warp Speed, which was the name of the Trump administration’s initiative to develop vaccines quickly to protect the public from the coronavirus, Trump said the health crisis death toll would be similar to that of the Spanish Flu pandemic more than a century ago.

“I think if we didn’t come up during the Trump administration with a vaccine you could have 100 million people dead just like you had in 1917. You take the Spanish Flu, 100 million people — up to 100 million people died. I think we’d be in that territory,” the former president said in an interview with Fox News host Dan Bongino that aired Saturday night.

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Estimates vary for the death toll of the Spanish Flu, which spread across the world from 1918 to 1919, but some experts put the range somewhere between 50 million and 100 million globally. The worldwide death toll for COVID-19 is roughly 4.3 million, and more than 616,000 have died in the United States, according to the John Hopkins University tracker.

Within the past couple days, more than 166 million people, or half the population of the United States, got fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention. But mutations of COVID-19, including the highly contagious delta variant, are leading to hotspots across the country, and thus conversations about reimposing restrictions as well as chatter about booster shots.

President Joe Biden suggested his administration needed to start the vaccine process “from scratch,” but Trump loyalists argued early Biden vaccination projections merely required the new president to continue at the rate begun by his predecessor.

So far, the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have received only emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, said last week he hopes Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine receives full approval within the next couple of weeks and alleviate some skepticism among those who have not yet gotten the jab.

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Trump said he is a “big fan” of the vaccines, but also expressed support for those people who choose not to get one.

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“I think this — I have to be a big vaccine fan, because I’m the one that got it done so quickly. Got it done in less than nine months; it was supposed to take five years. They would have never even gotten it done. So, I’m a big fan,” Trump said on Unfiltered with Dan Bongino.

“At the same time, I’m a big fan of our freedoms, and people have to make that choice for themselves, and I would recommend that they get it, and they get it done, and they’re being protected. And the vaccines turned out to be a tremendous thing, and I also though feel strongly, there are some people that do not want to do it, and I really believe in somebody’s choice, somebody’s freedom, and that’s the way it is,” he added.

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Tags: News, Donald Trump, Healthcare, Coronavirus

Original Author: Daniel Chaitin

Original Location: Trump estimates 100 million dead from COVID-19 without his vaccine efforts