23:41 GMT30 October 2020
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    The US president claimed influenza can kill more than 100,000 people every year in the US, although in the last decade the annual death toll has not exceeded 61,000, and said coronavirus was less lethal in "most populations".

    US President Donald Trump has again compared the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic to annual flu outbreaks.

    The president's comments rejecting a second lockdown, as proposed by his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden, followed his video address on Monday when he told the nation: "don't be afraid" of coronavirus.

    "Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!"

    Trump added that he was "feeling great!" following his stay in hospital and looking forward to the second presidential debate against Biden in Miami, Florida on October 15.

    More than 209,000 people have so far died with the COVID-19 virus in the US, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Figures from the government agency show that the annual death toll since 2010 has varied from around 12,000 in 2011-12 to 61,000 in 2017-18. The last time the seasonal influenza death toll exceeded 100,000 was in 1968.

    Biden attacked the president on Monday for taking off his surgical face mask for a solo speech on the White House balcony, asking "What is this macho thing?"

    The Democrat later said that he would attend the Miami debate with Trump "If the scientists say that it’s safe and the distances are safe."

    ​Trump spoke after arriving by the presidential Marine One helicopter from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on the outskirts of Washington DC, where he and first lady Melania Trump were admitted on Friday after testing positive for the virus.

    The president has repeatedly compared COVID-19 to common influenza bugs since February this year, both in terms of mortality rate and the chances of the outbreak subsiding in summer months.

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    Tags:
    White House, Melania Trump, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, coronavirus, COVID-19
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