Across 32 states and Washington D.C., more than 400 cases of and at least 19 deaths from the Coronavirus have been reported among Americans, and by all indications, the illness is continuing to spread. During an appearance on State of the Union this Sunday morning on CNN, the Trump-appointed U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams seemed to dismiss the panic that some have felt over the rapidly escalating situation, even as his own administration — led, of course, by Trump’s belligerence — has struggled to come up with a coherent public argument about the situation.
Trump himself has repeatedly claimed that duly proceeding coverage of the situation is part of some kind of conspiracy to make him look bad, and, down in reality, more than a dozen states (and D.C.) reported their first cases of the Coronavirus in the two days prior to Adams’s Sunday morning CNN appearance. Yet — he kept up his about-face about the whole situation. Did he get demands about what he’d say from higher-ups in the administration before going on the air?
Host Jake Tapper noted that the “virus is spreading,” and Adams replied:
‘Absolutely, and we’ve been saying this all along. Initially, we had a posture of containment so that could give people time to prepare for where we are right now, which means that we’re helping communities understand — you’re going to see more cases. Unfortunately, you’re going to see more deaths. But that doesn’t mean that we should panic. It means that we should take the things that we know work for individuals to protect themselves and make sure everyone is doing this… It also means that communities should be thinking about things like should we be cancelling large gatherings.’
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on the spread of coronavirus in the country: “We’re helping communities understand you’re going to see more cases. Unfortunately, you’re going to see more deaths. But that doesn’t mean we should panic.” #CNNSOTUhttps://t.co/jH41UZmxWa pic.twitter.com/zDOogFP7xD
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 8, 2020
Some “gatherings” have already faced cancellation. Even the Olympics, which are set for later this year, have been questioned.
Unfortunately, although Adams kept up his forward-looking reliance on documented treatment and containment methods for the illness, the administration as a whole has not been backing up this point. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) struggled to get adequate large-scale testing off the ground, and just three days before Adams’s appearance, one northern California health professional revealed they were still getting denied a chance at testing. Agency justifications had included the baseless bureaucratic claim that well, if they’d been wearing the appropriate protective gear — which they were — then they supposedly couldn’t have gotten sick.
Meanwhile, the issue continues to spread. Some are working on a vaccine, but that wouldn’t be ready to actually use for around a year, Trump admin health official Dr. Anthony Fauci noted elsewhere on television Sunday morning. He noted that the relevance of the vaccine would depend on whether the Coronavirus simply goes away or returns on a seasonal basis.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 8, 2020
On Sunday morning, Trump again focused on criticizing the media response above dealing with the actual situation:
‘We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!’
When they’re reporting facts, it’s not fake news.
We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020