Story at a glance
- President Trump said the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is under control.
- His comments come on the same day top health officials warned coronavirus spread in the U.S. appears to be inevitable.
- The president attacked Democrats who criticized his handling of the outbreak.
President Trump is downplaying concerns about the coronavirus, saying the outbreak is “under control” in the United States and the problem is going to “go away.”
“We have very few people with it,” Trump told reporters during a press conference in New Delhi Tuesday.
“The people are getting better, they’re all getting better…I think that the whole situation will start working out,” Trump said.
The president’s comments come after financial markets tumbled Monday amid fears the spread of coronavirus cases could trigger a pandemic.
In the U.S., more than 50 coronavirus cases have been reported, including 40 cases of people who had been repatriated to the country from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan.
Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Tuesday the agency expects to see community spread of the disease in the U.S.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Messonnier said.
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in the country will have severe illnesses,” she said.
Meanwhile, Trump pushed back against criticism from Democrats Tuesday, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who accused the president of not taking the outbreak seriously enough and using money reserved for other programs.
“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!,” Trump said in a tweet Tuesday.
The Trump administration announced Monday it is preparing to ask Congress for $1.25 billion in new funding and another $1.25 billion shifted from existing funding to step up its response to the virus as it spreads to more countries.