President Trump’s response to the spread of coronavirus shows that he is not aware of the danger or how to slow this outbreak, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) official.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel said on February 26 that the President’s briefing on the virus was incoherent. Hence, it is evident that he knows little about the problems facing public health.
Trump said that Vice President Mike Pence would lead the response team to tackle the outbreak. Notably, Pence is criticized for an anti-science opinion on issues like an HIV outbreak in Indiana.
The President is unaware of the threat
The President insisted that the risk to Americans is ‘very low’, and the country is ‘ready’ to respond. He commented:
“Well, I don’t think it’s inevitable. It probably will. It possibly will. It could be at a very small level or it could be at a larger level. Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared. We have the best people in the world. We have the best prepared people, the best people in the world. “
Trump went on to compare the COVID-2019 strain to the flu. He was even surprised to learn that the common flu kills between 25,000 and 69,000 Americans yearly. That briefing never elicited much confidence among experts.
Emanuel said that the President was wrong to compare coronavirus with the flu. He explained:
“We don’t know how similar or dissimilar this is to the flu. We know one thing, it actually is more contagious than the flu, and it passes between people very, very easily.”
For now, there is no adequate data to show the severity of this outbreak. Experts think that mortality is around 2.5 to 3 percent, according to Emanuel. However, the actual number could be lower since more mild cases are going unreported.
Nonetheless, President Trump is wrong to underplay the risk posed by the virus to the people and the general economy.
Serious Issues Unaddressed
Emanuel did not hear any viable response from the President about how to tackle the coronavirus threat if it breaks into the United States. Trump was vague the entire time during the briefing.
The shutdowns in China could disrupt medical supply chains. But, it seems like the President and those around him have not been taking this outbreak seriously. Trump said:
“Congress is willing to give us much more than we’re even asking for. That’s nice for a change. But we’re totally ready, willing and able. It’s a term we use. It’s ready, willing and able. It’s going to be very well under control. Now, it may get bigger, it may get a little bigger, it may not get bigger at all. We’ll see what happens, we’re totally prepared.”
The US has confirmed 60 coronavirus cases, but no deaths have occurred for now. On February 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it had identified the first human-to-human transmission incident.
The CDC also stated that the spread of this virus appears ‘inevitable’, although President Trump disagrees with its conclusion.