Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, listens during a hearing of the Senate Small Business Committee on Coronavirus Support and "Implementation of Title I of the CARES Act" on June 10, 2020 in Washington, United States.
Al Drago | Reuters
Utah Senator Mitt Romney criticized the Trump administration's early response to the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, saying they viewed the virus as a threat from the start and did not take immediate action.
"In the short term, I think it's fair to say that we (the United States) really didn't make a positive difference in the way we reacted to the crisis when it came upon us," Romney said during an interview with the Sutherland Institute .
Romney, a Republican who has spoken out publicly against Trump on a number of issues, said the "evidence of the pudding" was evident in the number of Covid-19 deaths reported.
"We have 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's deaths from Covid-19, and there is no way to see this in a positive light," he said.
The U.S. has reported at least 168,462 coronavirus-related deaths of 766,488 deaths worldwide, accounting for nearly 22% of the world's deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, a recent Yale study suggests that the actual number of deaths from Covid-19 could be significantly higher than the number of confirmed deaths.
While applauding Congress and the government for acting swiftly to provide financial relief under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Romney said the government did not "raise all alarm bells" immediately. They did not distribute personal protective equipment equitably to all states and were slow to manufacture essential supplies, he said.
"The health effects of Covid-19 on our country and our response to it have been really, very disappointing," said Romney.
President Donald Trump has temporarily dismissed the Covid-19 death toll, telling Axios' Jonathan Swan in an interview held in late July that the death number is "as it is". During the interview, Trump said his administration had done "an incredible" job responding to the pandemic.
"You're dying. That's right, and – it is what it is," Trump said. "But that doesn't mean that we don't do everything we can. It's as well under control as you can control it," Trump said in an interview.
White House spokesman Judd Deere responded to Romney's comments that Trump has "forged the largest public-private partnership not seen since World War II, sourcing and maintaining critical supplies and PPE for our frontline heroes developed a robust test regime from scratch, which resulted in this country becoming a leader. " the world in testing. "
"He has always responded to the recommendations of his best public health experts during this crisis, as evidenced by the many bold, data-driven decisions he has made to save millions of lives," said Deere.
While the US has conducted more testing than most other countries, recent drops in testing have questioned the accuracy of the country's daily reporting. There have also been delays in people getting their test results, and in some cases they waited weeks before being notified.
Many health officials say such long delays make the tests unhelpful in tracking and preventing further spread.
Trump has also often argued with advice from public health experts, including White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. The president failed to realize the importance of wearing face coverings, despite recently endorsing the idea, saying repeatedly that the virus will "go away" and that children are "virtually immune".
– CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.