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.
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Greg Abbott Signs Executive Order Keeping Violent Criminals from Going Back on the Streets During the Wuhan Crisis
After the Wuhan Virus was confirmed in several Texas jails in the last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on March 29, 2020 that makes it more difficult for several inmates to be let out on “no-cost, personal recognizance bonds.”
Abbott tweeted, “Today I issued an Executive Order preventing [email protected] of dangerous criminals from prisons & jails. We want to prevent the spread of #COVID19 among prison staff & inmates. But, releasing dangerous criminals in the streets is not the solution. #txlege #coronavirus”
Today I issued an Executive Order preventing [email protected] of dangerous criminals from prisons & jails.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 30, 2020
Several cases of the Wuhan Virus were discovered in the Dallas County Jail and Harris County Jail last week, two of the state’s largest jails. In addition, a handful of cases were confirmed in state prisons. According to NBC DFW, the virus’ outbreak was “followed by demands to reduce the inmate populations by releasing, immediately and without bond or judicial delay, those held on misdemeanor crimes or awaiting trial on misdemeanor crimes. Some also called for non-violent felons to also be released on no-cost bonds.”
Abbott said Sunday that “releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe” and issued a proclamation to prevent judges, and others, from releasing some inmates without a paid, cash bond.
In his executive order, Abbott declared that a person convicted of a crime that involved or threatened physical violence, or a person arrested for such a crime backed by probable cause, or a person with a criminal history of violent crime, cannot get out of jail on a no-cost personal recognizance bond.
With a PR bond, a defendant is released without having to post any money for his or her bond on the promise they’ll show up to their next court date.
Instead of virtue signaling and buying into the criminal justice reform movement’s desire to foment anarcho-tyranny, Abbott has held his ground by promoting public order.
A crisis like the Wuhan Virus pandemic does not need to be exacerbated by opening up the prison floodgates.
This is one case where American policymakers should use logic not emotion to craft prison policies in times of a pandemic.
Failure to do so will put the U.S. on the road to institutional failure.
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