The president held a campaign rally in North Charleston, North Carolina last night where he misstated the number of U.S. coronavirus victims at 15 (it is now 60), while claiming that coronavirus is the Democrat’s “new hoax.”
Earlier in the week, the president held a February 26 White House press conference where he tapped VP Mike Pence to lead the U.S. response to the virus.
During that conference, the president contradicted members of the CDC and National Institute of Health. The president insisted that spread of coronavirus in the U.S. “is not inevitable,” contradicting Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease who stated: “When you start to see sustained transmission in other countries throughout the world, it’s inevitable that it will come to the United States.”
The president gave a confusing answer to the mortality rate of influenza (the flu) by first agreeing with a press question that the flu mortality rate was 0.1%, and finishing his response by saying the flu mortality rate “is much higher than that.” The CDC states that the mortality rate of influenza is 0.1%.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, spoke the day prior to the president’s press conference stating: “We expect to see community spread in this country. It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen…”
Dr. Messonnier happens to be the sister of Rod Rosenstein, which lead to a right-wing conspiracy attack against her. Rush Limbaugh, Jim Hoft and Wayne Dupree all insinuated that Dr. Messonnier’s intention was not to provide information to protect the public, but was to damage the president.
Salon.com quotes a senior administration official saying “She never should have said that…it’s bad.”
VP Pence has a troubled relationship with medicine and science. During his 2001 run for Congress, Pence posted to his campaign website: “Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every 3 smokers does [sic] not die of smoking related illnesses and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.”
During an HIV epidemic in Scott County while Pence was Indiana’s Governor, he refused to adopt a needle exchange program that health professionals unequivocally said would stem the spread of HIV in Scott County.
Following his appointment to lead the U.S. in fighting the coronavirus epidemic, Pence’s office stated that all communication coming from any U.S. official or agency must be passed by the Vice President.
Pence also appointed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Director of National Economic Council Larry Kudlow to the coronavirus task force. This because of the effect that coronavirus will have on U.S financial markets. And fears of that effect on the administration’s reelection chances.
The administrations fears are real. From a high of 29,551 at close of market on February 12, the market has dropped 4,142 points, a fall of 14%. This week’s drop (28,403 to 25,403) is the largest weekly drop since the financial crisis of 2008 and this drop (over 10%) puts the market in correction.