President Donald Trump fired back at critics of his administration’s response to an outbreak of coronavirus Sunday, insisting that the White House has a “perfectly coordinated” and “finely tuned” planed to handle the virus, which has killed around 3,000 people worldwide, but only 19 in the United States.
“We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus,” Trump tweeted early Sunday morning. “We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!”
Concerns about the virus have ramped up in recent days, amid an ongoing outbreak in Washington state — the result of mismanaged spread in a nursing home that affected the population most vulnerable to coronavirus, the elderly — and news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still does not have enough tests to begin widespread coronavirus screening.
Incidents of the virus also spiked in new states over the weekend; New York governor Andrew Cuomo was forced to declare a “state of emergency” there after 89 people tested positive for the virus, including a dozen people in Manhattan. The New York outbreak appears to be the result of a single individual who defied orders to self-quarantine after coming into contact with the virus at a tony ski resort in northern Italy, where the virus is running rampant.
But, Trump says, the White House’s coronavirus team, lead by Vice President Mike Pence, is abreast of the situation.
“The president visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Friday and encouraged people not to panic as cases around the world continue to climb and the virus’ effects on the economy and travel is roiling global markets,” the New York Post reported Sunday.
“It will end. People have to remain calm,” Trump said during a press conference following the visit.
On Saturday, the mainstream media turned its fire on the Trump Administration, though, accusing the White House of “fueling the coronavirus outbreak” (Politico) through mismanagement and an “an atmosphere where the judgment of his staff is that he shouldn’t need to know” about direct measures to addresss the crisis. Those stories, though, largely quote anonymous staffers — “current and former” Trump Administration aides — and do credit Trump for taking early, decisive action, shutting down travel to coronavirus-affected areas in China.
Most media outlets point to comments Trump made Friday, suggesting that passengers on a cruise ship “marooned off the coast of California,” some of whom have tested positive for the virus, should remain at sea.
“Do I want to bring all those people off? People would like me to do it,” Trump said. “I would rather have them stay on, personally.”
The statement was regarded as “cruel,” but Trump appeared to be alluding less to keeping official American coronavirus numbers down and more to preventing the spread of the disease. Passengers from another infected ship, the Diamond Princess, were successfully quarantined, but some of those who served and worked with passengers and crew who disembarked the ship in California eventually became infected, spreading the disease across northern California.
Ultimately, Pence and his team made the decision to have the ship land at a “non-commercial” dock in California where passengers could be treated and quarantined.
Author: Emily Zanotti