On Wednesday President Trump held a press conference at the White House outlining his administration’s efforts to handle coronavirus threat. He announced that the risk for America is very low, but “we’re ready to adapt and ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads.” He said that so far only 15 people had contracted the virus and are currently on the way to recovery, according to NBC News. Trump announced during the briefing that he had appointed Vice President Pence to lead the US response to the coronavirus outbreak.
President Trump didn’t call for more travel restrictions after expressing satisfaction with his administration’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus by screening people coming high-risk areas and even issuing a temporary ban on foreign individuals traveling from China, according to CBS News. “Had I not made a decision very early on not to take people from a certain area, we wouldn’t be talking this way,” said Trump.
Trump’s press conference drew criticism. Obama’s former health policy adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, criticized President’s assessment of the danger of novel coronavirus. “I found most of what he said a little incoherent,” said Emanuel, blasting the idea that the virus is similar to the flu. “It is actually more communicable than the flu. It passes between people very, very easily,” he said during an interview with MSNBC. Many other media outlets highlighted an inconsistency between President’s reassurance and CDC’s warning issued on Tuesday. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier.
Earlier this week the White House unveiled a $2.5 billion plan in emergency funding to combat the spread of coronavirus. These funds will be spent to “accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness, and response activities and to procure much-needed equipment and supplies,” confirmed Rachel Semmel, a spokesperson for the White House budget office. However, Democrats and even some Republicans stated that this plan is insufficient and requested more resources. “We have a crisis of coronavirus and President Trump has no plan, no urgency, no understanding of the facts or how to coordinate a response,” said Chuck Schumer (D-NY).