Democrats Thumb Their Noses At President Trump’s Effort to Tackle Coronavirus
On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, President Donald Trump and economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the new coronavirus is under control in America. However, disease experts warned Americans to prepare themselves for an outbreak.
The muddled messaging came at a time when the stock market plummeted for a second straight day and elected officials for both parties raised doubts about the efficacy of the $2.5 billion that the White House requested to battle the coronavirus.
While on his visit to New Delhi, India, Trump said “we have very few people with it.” A “lot of talent” and a “lot of brainpower” is being tapped for the coronavirus response, he added.
He declared the situation is “very well under control in our country.”
Similarly, economic adviser Larry Kudlow contended that the stock market’s fall represented a potential buying opportunity for investors. “Our economy is in good shape,” asserted Kudlow. “This virus won’t last forever. We have contained it.”
However, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who is in charge of dealing with respiratory diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said to reporters that “it’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen – and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”
U.S. health officials insist that there’s no confusing message going around. They emphasize that they’ve previously warned about the coronavirus spreading in America.
The messaging has become more urgent as they attempt to educate Americans about the health risks, and about the steps that need to be taken if the virus is not contained.
Health experts want people to start considering different approaches to handling a potential virus outbreak, such as closing schools and telecommuting to work. During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, these steps were taken.
“Part of preparedness is an educated population thinking about the future,” commented Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
“The immediate risk to the general American public remains low, but that has the potential to change quickly,” he continued.
On Tuesday morning, senators from both political parties questioned whether the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion would be enough.
“If you low-ball something like this, you’ll pay for it later,” Alabama Senator Richard Shelby told Azar. The two had a dialogue during a budget hearing that turned into a discussion about U.S. readiness in the face of the virus outbreak.
Shelby declared that if the virus kept spreading, “it could be an existential threat to a lot of people in this country.”
Azar claimed that about two months after the first warnings about the virus were published, there’s no evidence the virus has spread in the U.S. beyond a few patients infected abroad and a several close relatives. Azar attributed this success to travel controls and mandatory quarantines. He added that government scientists are developing a vaccine to treat the coronavirus.
“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus and we need to be realistic about that,” the health chief sustained. “We’ll have more cases in the United States, and we’ve been very transparent about that.” If these cases occur, Azar said “we’ll work to mitigate those.”
Democrat Senator Patty Murray of Washington said the administration’s approach to the crisis has been “unacceptable.”
“We cannot afford to plan on the cheap or at the last minute,” she remarked.
“I’m deeply concerned that we are way behind the eight-ball on this,” she continued.
Democrats will likely continue politicizing this outbreak and try to tie Trump into it as much as possible or criticize him for not doing enough.