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Opinion Opinions | Trump’s news conference will likely intensify panic over coronavirus

18:00  27 february  2020
18:00  27 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

White House denies report it is mulling appointing a coronavirus 'czar'

  White House denies report it is mulling appointing a coronavirus 'czar' The White House on Wednesday denied a report that it was considering appointing a coronavirus "czar" to coordinate the U.S. response to the disease. © Provided by Associated Press Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks at a news conference about the federal government's response to a virus outbreak originating in China, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Politico reported on Wednesday that U.S. officials were debating the necessity of such a role, but White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in a post on Twitter that this was not true.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

President Trump held a rare news conference at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday to talk about the spread of the coronavirus. Thank goodness the markets were closed. If they had been open, we no doubt would have seen a precipitous dive as Trump rambled, improvised, interjected and conveyed a total lack of command of the facts.

Trump says Pelosi trying to create 'panic' with coronavirus comments

  Trump says Pelosi trying to create 'panic' with coronavirus comments President Trump accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday of trying to create a panic around the coronavirus outbreak after the California Democrat criticized the White House’s emergency planning as “inadequate.” © Provided by FOX News President Trump holds news conference with CDC officials to address the coronavirus outbreak. Trump called Pelosi “incompetent” and accused her of using the virus for a political reason during a press conference where he sought to minimize fears of the virus spreading and announced that Vice President Mike Pence will head up Washington’s response to the outbreak.

The president insisted that the risk of infection was very low, a statement that seemed to contradict experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and amid the news of a growing list of countries with identified cases in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and the Middle East. As Trump spoke, authorities announced that, in Northern California, the first patient who “did not recently return from a foreign country or have contact with a confirmed case” was identified. That means it is spreading domestically. But not to fear! We are “very, very ready for an outbreak,” Trump claimed. With each “very,” one was overcome with the unsettling sense that we were not. The president told us that he is going to spend whatever it takes, but said he would leave the amount to Congress.

Fauci denies being 'muzzled' over coronavirus

  Fauci denies being 'muzzled' over coronavirus A top U.S. health official disputed claims that the Trump administration blocked him from speaking out about the new coronavirus. © Provided by Washington Examiner Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, categorically denied on Saturday about being "muzzled" by any administration, dating back to the presidency of Ronald Reagan. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "Let me clarify.

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The only concrete news was his decision to put Vice President Pence, the most loyal toady in an administration full of them, to oversee the response — not an expert, not a scientist, not anyone with a background in pandemics. Trump insisted that Pence “has got a certain talent for this”; what talent that might be remains a mystery. Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, who had been in charge and had taken flack for refusing to assure Congress that any vaccine would be affordable, seemed giddy to dump responsibility for the fast-moving disaster. (He will still run the task force responsible for the response.)

Trump’s habit of showing surprise at facts that informed Americans or professionals already know hardly inspires confidence. “The flu in our country kills from 29,000 people to 69,000 people a year,” he said. “That was shocking to me.” Perhaps if he had not fired CDC experts and cut the budget for addressing pandemics, he might be up to speed. (On the other hand, he tends to become irritated with aides who know more than he does, and then fires them.)

WHO joins TikTok to fight coronavirus misinformation

  WHO joins TikTok to fight coronavirus misinformation The World Health Organization clearly has an interest in putting a stop to coronavirus misinformation, and that's leading it to online destinations it wouldn't have considered before. The WHO has joined TikTok, and its first videos are, unsurprisingly, aimed at both reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and setting the record straight. They explain how you can safeguard yourself and others against the virus, how to use a mask and whether or not you need a mask in the first place -- crucially, the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms.

Trump seemed determine to keep the number of confirmed cases at 15, the “original 15” he decided to name them (at least 60 have been reported) and to make the odd prediction we would be down to just a few in no time. He maintained that he has made the right decisions and lashed out the media for making him look bad. (Perhaps they should not have aired his alarming news conference live to avoid panicking the country?) In discussing a deadly serious matter, he took to insulting the speaker of the House and Senate minority leader in childish terms.

Other members of the administration stepped forward to sing Trump’s praises in another Pyongyang-like display of reverence for the leader’s wisdom.

Following the press conference, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admonished the administration. “The American people need a well-coordinated, whole-of-government, fully-funded response to keep them safe from the coronavirus threat,” Pelosi said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has mounted an opaque and chaotic response to this outbreak.” She continued: “The Trump Administration has left critical positions in charge of managing pandemics at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security vacant. The Trump Budget called for slashing almost $700 million from the Centers for Disease Control.”

Pence says risk to Americans from coronavirus remains low

  Pence says risk to Americans from coronavirus remains low HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/USA-PENCE (URGENT):Pence says risk to Americans from coronavirus remains low , after authorities in Washington state announced the deaths of four more people, raising the U.S. death toll to six. © Reuters U.S. Vice President Mike Pence gives a news briefing about the coronavirus with members of the White House coronavirus task force at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 2, 2020.

Trump’s appearance was in every sense a disaster. Meant to inspire confidence, it confirmed that the president is uninterested and uninvolved in critical matters, preferring to hand off responsibility to loyal cronies. We are reminded that Trump is perpetually winging it, either too lazy or mentally limited to learn the specifics of a topic, no matter how serious. He congratulates himself; he tosses around adjectives with abandon. Out of his depth he turns each crisis into an opportunity to insult critics and political opponents. No fair observer, however, would conclude that he really has a grasp of, let alone a plan for, addressing this sort of crisis. Trump may finally have stumbled on something he cannot ignore, blame on others, convert into a political weapon or fake his way through.

Heaven help us.

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