President Donald Trump suggested Monday evening that the “1917” influenza pandemic ended World War II, wrongly citing both the year that the pandemic occurred and the year that World War II ended.
“The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people,” Trump said. “Probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick.” World War II actually ended in 1945, while the flu pandemic swept the globe between 1918 and 1920, infecting hundreds of millions of people.
The president’s comment came as he was praising his administration’s efforts in controlling the coronavirus and shutting down travel. Before his comments about World War II, Trump claimed that if the U.S. had not shut its borders to foreign travelers, “we would have had one and a half or two million people already dead,” and claimed that we have a firm understanding of how the novel coronavirus functions.