As a press conference earlier tonight (February 26), President Trump named Vice President Pence as the point person to coordinate the government’s response to the coronavirus, saying, “We’re very, very ready for this,” according to The New York Times.
The President said that a vaccine is being developed “rapidly” and “coming along very well,” according to Fox News. Fox News also reports that Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said later at the press conference that a vaccine would not be applicable to the epidemic for a “year to a year-and-a-half,” due to delays from testing, development, production, and distribution.
Fox reported that the President stated that the United States is the most prepared country in the world to handle an epidemic, and he credited his decision to restrict travel from China.
The President acknowledged that the stock market was foundering “because of this,” but also in part because the public is worried one of the Democrats running for president might win and impose socialist policies.
Earlier in the day, Trump blamed the media and Democrats for exaggerating the virus and harming American financial markets. On Twitter, he criticized news outlets MSNBC and CNN: “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!”
USA Today reports that San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed issued an emergency declaration on Tuesday aimed at preparing the city for an outbreak – even though no cases of the new virus have been confirmed in the city. They also report that on Wednesday, Orange County, which has had one case, declared a local health emergency.
The Center For Disease Control says that the general American public “…are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time,” and that ” the immediate health risk from COVID-19 [aka the coronavirus] is considered low.”
“However,” the CDC adds, “it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. In that case, the risk assessment would be different.” For the latest news on the coronavirus, check the Center For Disease Control’s website.