With cases in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and North America, the coronavirus continues to spread at an alarming rate. The first case of unknown origin recently arrived in the United States, with a domestic outbreak considered by some experts to be inevitable.
Despite President Donald Trump's attempts to dismiss the threats posed by the virus in an effort to preserve the stock market he loves to tout, Trump held a news conference on Wednesday evening with officials from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Vice President.
Trump announced that Vice President Mike Pence—who has no experience in the biomedical field and oversaw a massive HIV outbreak in his home state of Indiana during his time as governor—would be leading the charge to prepare for an outbreak.
Trump also gave lengthy answers for why the virus is of little concern and how his government is more than prepared to curb its spread.
People weren't exactly assured.
One answer in particular regarding Trump's cuts to departments like the CDC gave people pause.
"We know all the people, we know all the good people."
The President is asked about cuts to CDC and offers a puzzling answer about “knowing all the good people” https://t.co/h7quzJxZae— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn Torabi)1582763715.0
When asked to respond to his officials' assessment that an outbreak in the United States was inevitable, Trump's answer wasn't assuring:
"Well, I don't think it's inevitable. 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. You see that from the study we have the best prepared people, the best people in the world."
Even Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a former health advisor to Barack Obama and current World Health Organization official, described Trump's responses as "incoherent" on MSNBC's Hardball.
"I found most of what he said incoherent." -- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Trump's press conference regarding the corona… https://t.co/FToHqqyH7w— Hardball (@Hardball)1582764120.0
"I found most of what he said a little incoherent. You know, [Trump's] a guy that admitted that he's surprised that 25,000 to 69,000 people each year die of the flu. That just tells you how little he actually knows about public health and about the health of the American public. He just revealed how ignorant he is about the situation. We don't know how similar or dissimilar this is to the flu. We know one thing. It is actually more communicable than the flu. It passes between people very, very easily."
He wasn't the only one startled at the unreadiness displayed by Trump in Wednesday's press conference.
It’s still amazing to see how a rambling, semi coherent and contradictory presser from Trump gets repackaged into h… https://t.co/GlRKnCJD05— Ben Rhodes (@Ben Rhodes)1582808057.0
At a press conference, to REASSURE the American people about a pandemic that could kill Americans, Donald Trump com… https://t.co/Xq3Ehfqp6h— Joe Walsh (@Joe Walsh)1582763252.0
I am more freaked out now after 2 minutes of this Trump presser on #CoronavirusOutbreak— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali)1582760579.0
You have see Trump's Corona presser to believe it: -Lost & rambling-"he's coming in to do some things" -Puts Pence… https://t.co/5OmRAVJCiw— Tom Joseph (@Tom Joseph)1582764217.0
Trump is actually using his insulting nickname for Crying Chuck Schumer at a press conference to REASSURE Americans… https://t.co/IqMKMNRoSA— Susan Glasser (@Susan Glasser)1582762265.0
At a press conference about an emerging pandemic and potential public health crisis, Trump is boasting about how th… https://t.co/JaUeVeE70x— Radley Balko (@Radley Balko)1582762596.0
This press conference is the embodiment of why Trump must be defeated in November. It’s a matter of life and death.— Kelly Magsamen (@Kelly Magsamen)1582763491.0
People knew Trump was minimizing the pandemic to preserve the stock market, but it doesn't appear the market was listening.
I guess Wall Street isn’t happy with @realDonaldTrump press conference yesterday. How soon until the VP gets the… https://t.co/dgkAZ88438— Brian J. Karem (@Brian J. Karem)1582822304.0
Dear @realDonaldTrump, We are furious that you refuse to take the #CoronaVirus seriously. You are going to get peo… https://t.co/ydqANrMRnL— Sarah Connor (@Sarah Connor)1582818693.0
Trump coronavirus containment plan: "Go buy stocks."— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub)1582639320.0
A vaccine for the Coronavirus isn't expected for another year, despite Trump's claims that the U.S. is very close to achieving one.