Trump decided to take coronavirus more seriously after watching Fox News coverage of stock market crash: report
President Donald Trump during “chopper talk” on the South Lawn of the White House as he departed for Florida (screengrab)

President Donald Trump for the past two weeks has routinely sought to downplay the public health risks associated with coronavirus.

Bloomberg reports that the president changed his tune, however, after watching Fox News coverage of Monday's stock market crash in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 2,000 points.

"By the time Trump touched down, he had decided he should take action, according to three people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reports. "He would abandon the cautious, business-as-usual approach he had hoped would calm Wall Street jitters and instead pursue a broader economic stimulus to reassure investors, aiming to avert an election-year recession that could doom his presidency."

Trump later in the day claimed that he would be revealing an economic stimulus plan on Tuesday -- but the whole day passed and no such plan ever materialized. Despite this, aides tell Bloomberg that the president "is committed to rolling out a plan, even if its substance and timing are unclear."

Trump and his advisers have for weeks tried to claim that the virus was not a major threat to Americans' health and to the American economy, and two Trump officials even went so far as to call the virus "contained."