President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that the coronavirus is “very much under control” in the U.S. and that the stock market looks “very good” — on the day the market plunged 3.5% over fears about the spread of the illness, its biggest drop in two years.
The Trump administration has already experienced some major stumbles regarding the coronavirus. State Department officials earlier this week overruled health experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and loaded 14 American passengers from a Japanese cruise ship who tested positive for the coronavirus onto the same plane transporting healthy passengers back to the United States.
The Trump administration backed off plans Monday to transport some of the returning cruise ship passengers, who are still under quarantine, to Alabama, following pushback from Republicans in the red state.
There are now 53 cases of coronavirus in the U.S.
Trump and the GOP have cut funding for the CDC — which lost money for pandemic preparedness — and for public health, and the CDC faces a new round of cuts in the president’s current budget proposal. Trump’s current plan also calls for cutting U.S. funding for WHO in half. In 2018, Trump ordered the entire global health security unit of the National Security Council to shut down.
The White House is now reportedly preparing to ask Congress for emergency funds — as much as $1 billion — to cover the shortfall and battle the spread of the virus, The Washington Post reported.
Trump predicted in a tweet earlier this month that Chinese President Xi Jinping would be “successful” in quelling the spread of the virus. “He feels they are doing very well,” Trump wrote after a phone conversation with the Chinese leader.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC recently told CNN that he thinks the virus is “probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think, eventually, the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission” in the U.S.
Since Trump’s conversation with China’s president, not only have the numbers grown but the cases also have spread beyond new borders. South Korea is now on its highest alert for infectious diseases, and a dozen towns in northern Italy are under quarantine since cases there spiked.