The White House wasn't prepared for the updates the Center for Disease Control provided them this week about the coronavirus, Politico reported Thursday.
Thus far, 60 Americans have contracted the virus in the United States, including those who were left on a quarantined cruise ship and eventually secretly brought back to the United States. It was announced Wednesday evening that the first case of "community-spread" coronavirus occurred in California.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier leads the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases under the CDC and when she met Tuesday with the Department of Health and Human Services and White House officials she startled them with the facts about the public danger.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare for the expectation that this could be bad,” Mesonnier said in the briefing. She then explained that public spaces like schools may have to be closed to contain the spread.
"Top Trump advisers have worried that panic over a still-unseen U.S. outbreak could threaten the president’s reelection," Politico reported. And HHS Secretary Alex Azar and other officials have spent the week trying to calm the public, to little avail.
It was a Republican senator who hammered acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf over his ability to keep Americans safe. Comparing HHS and DHS answers to questions also revealed that the Trump officials aren't even certain about the vaccine facts.
Some noted that this is a problem created by the Trump administration because they've chosen personalities instead of experts to lead key positions. At the same time, Trump is being questioned about his decisions to cut funding to the CDC, public health, the National Institute of Health and his general rejection of science that has left his government unprepared to navigate a disease outbreak.