Donald Trump spoke “utter crap” about coronavirus which caused “anarchy” over the virus in the US, public health expert Devi Sridhar has said.
Professor Sridhar also praised Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership during the pandemic, saying she was glad she lived in Scotland rather than her native Florida.
She spoke at the Edinburgh International Book Festival ahead of the release of her book titled Preventable: The Politics of Pandemics and How to Stop the Next One.
As Professor of Global Public Health at Edinburgh University, she also sits on the Scottish Government’s coronavirus advisory board.
During the discussion with broadcaster Sally Magnusson on Friday, she said the UK had made mistakes early in the pandemic by “not running fast enough” in tracing Covid cases.
She said Boris Johnson’s announcement on March 12, 2020, led to her speaking out about the UK’s Covid strategy on social media.
Prof Sridhar was asked about previous remarks she had made, in which she said Scotland would have done better against Covid as an independent country.
She said: “I think what I can say having been in Scotland and seen it closely, is that I truly believe … the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whatever your opinion on politics, independence, has tried to do a good job through this crisis.
“She has tried to brief the public, she has tried to message clearly, she has tried to listen to the scientists.”
Prof Sridar said she had never been pressured to say anything by the Scottish Government.
She continued: “All I can say is that I think I do feel fortunate to live in Scotland through this moment compared to being back in Florida.
“Florida is a mess. And I think it shows the importance of governance and leadership.
“Florida from a distance might look great because there’s no restrictions and everything is open and there’s no mask mandates.
“But the result is many people hiding in their homes.”
Professor Sridhar said the lack of trust people in the US had in their authorities was a growing problem, blaming former president Trump’s leadership.
She said: “People don’t know what to believe any more because he said such utter crap. I think here in this country you’d say utter rubbish?
“So people don’t know what to believe so it creates anarchy.
“One of the things New Zealand, for example, has done well is there’s one source of information and people trust it.
“And I think in Scotland, across Britain in fact, because of the trust in scientists (the) uptake (of vaccines) is really high.”