Former Trump Homeland security adviser: 'Little value' to European travel restrictions

A former homeland security adviser in the Trump administration said Thursday that he sees "little value" in President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE's move to impose travel restrictions on Europe as part of the U.S. government's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Tom Bossert, who served in the administration from 2017 to 2018, called it a "poor use of time and energy" and argued that the restrictions wouldn't be helpful, considering the U.S. already has more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the disease. That number is comparable to the amount of cases in countries such as Germany, France and Spain. 

"Earlier, yes. Now, travel restrictions/screening are less useful," Bossert tweeted.

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"We have nearly as much disease here in the US as the countries in Europe. We MUST focus on layered community mitigation measures-Now," he added, referring to actions that persons and communities can take to curb the outbreak of respiratory virus infections. 

Community mitigation can be especially important when a vaccine or drug offering a cure is not widely available, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to climb, Trump announced during an Oval Office address late Wednesday that he was instituting restrictions on travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. 

The White House has clarified that the ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in the European Union during the 14 days before they attempt entry into the U.S. It does not apply to U.S. citizens or their immediate family members. It also does not apply to the United Kingdom, which formally left the European Union in January. 

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The announcement came as health officials voiced warnings that the coronavirus outbreak would only worsen in the United States in the coming weeks and as the stock market suffered significant losses, producing fears of the disease's broader effects on the economy.

Numerous businesses and schools have shuttered, and a handful of cities and states have urged citizens to avoid nonessential mass gatherings. The NBA announced Wednesday that it would suspend its season after a player tested positive for the virus. 

In a series of tweets, Bossert said that "the biggest misunderstanding about #coronavirus interventions is they are an à la carte menu of options to be selectively implemented."

"This is dead wrong," he said. "They ALL must be implemented to achieve a layered effect. Removing any one can defeat all. Close schools AND cancel events."

He also asserted that the U.S. in two weeks will regret "wasting time and energy on travel restrictions and wish we focused more on hospital preparation and large scale community mitigation." He did note, however, that Trump made a "positive step" by conveying the seriousness of the disease during an Oval Office address on Wednesday night. 

Trump has repeatedly contradicted health officials by comparing the novel coronavirus to the seasonal flu. He's previously argued that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. would soon be “close to zero.” 

He promised Wednesday to use "the full power of the federal government" to confront the disease's spread, laying out multiple executive actions to boost a declining economy and calling on Congress to pass legislation to aid workers.