President Donald Trump in early February told reporter Bob Woodward that the novel coronavirus was "deadly stuff" before spending the next few weeks downplaying it.
CNN, which has obtained a copy of the book, reports that Woodward interviewed Trump on February 7th. During that interview, the president disclosed that he knew COVID-19 was five times more deadly than the seasonal flu.
However, the president decided to not tell the public about the seriousness of the disease and its threat to Americans' health.
"I wanted to always play it down," Trump admitted to Woodward more than one month later. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
During the same time, Trump was telling Americans that the virus was under control and would soon "disappear."