President Donald Trump addressed the nation Wednesday afternoon, urging people to be calm as the coronavirus approached a global pandemic, and the stock market continued to drop.
After several missteps when speaking to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Trump attempted to repair the false information spread by his administration and his allies. He has also stoked conspiracy theoris about the virus and the Center for Disease Control.
When speaking to the nation, Trump began by complimenting his “very smart people” who briefed him on the virus.
Trump said his solutions thus far is to block flights coming in from countries with the virus. He said that it’s reduced the risk as a result. He also said that more people die of the flu each year than this virus. He also confessed he didn’t know that people die from the flu. However, the fatality rate is much higher thus far for the coronavirus.
Trump also downplayed the number of people who have the disease, saying there are really only 15 people and “we’re pretty soon only going to be five people.” Thus far, there are 60 people with the disease, according to reports.
The president also trashed Democrats for asking for more money to respond to the crisis, saying that they’ve already done a great job and he’ll take more money, he said, but he doesn’t think that he will need it. The White House will also bring in a “specialist” to talk to them about it, he said.
He also gave props to Chinese President Xi Jinping for his response, saying that infections are going down there.
As for the vaccine, Trump played coy, saying he thinks they can develop it rapidly. However, the National Institute of Health said that it would be well over a year before a vaccine is ready and tested.
He also bragged that the United States is charted as the best-rated countries prepared to attack the virus. Citing a report from Johns Hopkins, Trump claimed the U.S. was well prepared.
“The average score in 2019 was just 40. China scored 48. The US, UK, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada top the ranking, with scores ranging from 84 to 75, but they too will struggle if the coronavirus becomes a pandemic and spreads globally, even if it isn’t especially deadly,” said Jennifer Nuzzo at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland.