Ever since the coronavirus reached the U.S., Trump has either downplayed its seriousness or he’s spread misinformation about the virus and how it’s being treated. For example, according to Vox, in his visit to the center for disease control on Friday, Trump said: “As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test [can have one], that’s the important thing, and the tests are all perfect.”
This is not true.
The coronavirus tests face three main problems. First, the batch that was distributed in February is believed to have had a problematic reagent leading to inconclusive results. Once this issue was corrected, there was still not enough infrastructure by the CDC to test all the kits that had been sent out, which led the center to open up testing to state-level facilities. There’s also still a lack of tests to go around, contrary to what the president said. Various states have been urging the CDC to release more test kits for COVID-19 (an abbreviation for coronavirus disease 2019) and have chastised the government for its slow response in making more tests available. Meanwhile, each day, the number of coronavirus cases is rapidly increasing. For example, in New York state — which has 117 coronavirus cases as of Monday morning — the demands for testing couldn’t be met on Friday because they didn’t have enough tests, according to Raul Perea-Henze, the New York City deputy mayor for health and human services.
“With multiple positive cases, NYC needs maximum testing capacity to enable successful implementation of the public health strategies that best protect New Yorkers,” Perea-Henze explained in a letter Friday, requesting more testing kits. “The slow federal action on this matter has impeded our ability to beat back this epidemic.”
On Friday, Trump signed a bill allowing $8.3 billion in emergency funds to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The measure passed by Congress is supposed to include $2.2 billion for health agencies to prepare for and prevent the spread of the virus in the United States, along with more than $3 billion for vaccine research. Time will tell if the measure will outweigh all the misinformation and self-praising Trump has done in light of this new epidemic.
On Monday, Trump didn’t make matters better by doing something that many health experts advise against — he compared the coronavirus to the flu.
“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu,” he tweeted. “It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
According to NBC News, health experts say the flu is reasonably predictable while the coronavirus and the COVID-19 still have many unknown elements. Scientists are still trying to get a hold on all the details of the virus and its mortality rate.
Along with health issues, the coronavirus is also causing economic concerns. For example, according to CNN, stocks plummeted on Monday as worries about the global virus continue to grow.
According to The Hill, stock markets started to plunge as early as late February and even then, Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
You can take your own precautions to the coronavirus by checking out the CDC’s recommended actions here, and you can enjoy some humorous responses to Trump’s coronavirus rhetoric below.