LISTEN: Trump tells Bob Woodward that he intentionally played down COVID-19 threat
Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House (Fox Business/screen grab)

A new audio recording played by CNN on Wednesday shows that President Donald Trump deliberately played down the dangers of the novel coronavirus because he didn't want to create a "panic."

"I wanted to always play it down," Trump said on March 19th, shortly after he declared a national emergency. "I still like playing it down."

Trump's admission that he intentionally played down the virus came just over a month after he told Woodward that he knew that the virus spread rapidly through the air and was five times more deadly than the seasonal flu.

"It goes through air, Bob," he said. "It's also more deadly than your, you know, your strenuous flus."

Ever since Trump made these admissions to Woodward, nearly 190,000 Americans have died from the novel coronavirus.

Listen to the audio below.