Trump downplays coronavirus fears, oil price war as stock market plunges

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE on Monday downplayed a stock market rout driven by panic over the coronavirus outbreak and an oil price war, blaming Russia, Saudi Arabia and the media for undercutting investors.

“Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!” Trump tweeted Monday morning after all three major stock indexes plunged 7 percent amid growing fears of an oil price war.

“Saudi Arabia and Russia are arguing over the price and flow of oil. That, and the Fake News, is the reason for the market drop!”

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Global stocks plunged Monday after OPEC failed to strike a deal on oil output Saturday as the coronavirus outbreak dampens international travel and economic activity. Russia and Saudi Arabia slashed oil prices soon after, sending the benchmark level for crude oil sinking to the lowest level since 1991.

A sharp drop in oil prices could help boost consumer budgets through lower gasoline prices, but also weigh on the broader economy through the U.S. petroleum industry. The U.S. has also increased its oil exports to exceed its imports within the past decade, making a decline in oil prices a novel threat to the American economy.

Trump also accused the media of stoking unnecessary fear over the coronavirus outbreak within the U.S., asserting in contradiction to U.S. health officials that it was comparable to influenza.

"So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!" Trump tweeted.

There are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus worldwide, including more than 500 in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview last week with NBC News that the coronavirus poses unique threats beyond those of the common flu.

“When you have a brand new virus in which no one has had any experience before, that gives the virus kind of an open roadway to spread,” Fauci said.