Two months after it emerged in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus has spread throughout Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, North America, and sub-Saharan Africa with nearly 84,000 cases worldwide.
The United States is scrambling to prepare for an outbreak that officials have deemed inevitable—but President Donald Trump and his staff are saying the concern is overblown.
On Wednesday, Trump accused the media of deliberately sensationalizing the virus to make him look bad. He spelled the name of the virus wrong in the process.
Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney echoed those claims at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, when he said that the media was only covering the coronavirus to take down the President.
Mulvaney said that the press had been too preoccupied with the impeachment trial of the President to cover the virus, before continuing:
"Why didn't you hear about it? The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president...the reason that you're seeing so much attention to [coronavirus] today is that they think that this is going to be what brings down the President."
In reality, the media is likely to face challenges covering the virus because Vice President Mike Pence—whom Trump appointed as response director—must give permission before officials at the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health can release updates to the public, potentially slowing or censoring life saving information.
With that in mind, you can imagine why people weren't keen on Mulvaney's take.
This strategy is the Trump administration's specialty though, whether it's in response to impeachment or a pandemic.
Accurate information among the populace is a key component of containing the virus, and this administration can't be trusted to deliver that.