Federal health authorities warned the public on Tuesday that they now expect a wider spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S. and are preparing for a potential pandemic, though they still are unsure about how severe the health threat could be.
Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency expects a sustained expansion and called for businesses, schools and communities to brace themselves for potential outbreaks.
The U.S. has 53 confirmed cases as of Monday, according to the World Health Organization.
Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor, claimed on Tuesday that the U.S. has “contained” the coronavirus minutes after the CDC’s warning of an inevitable spread of the deadly virus.
“We have contained this. I won’t say ‘air-tight,’ but it’s pretty close to air-tight,” Kudlow said on CNBC, where he worked as a financial analyst and TV host before Trump hired him to be his Director of the National Economic Council.
“There will be some stumbles. We’re looking at numbers; it’s a little iffy,” Kudlow continued, referring to the economic, not human impact. “But at the moment, the numbers that we’re looking at … there’s no supply disruptions out there yet.” Kudlow did classify the human toll as tragic.
— CNBC (@CNBC) February 25, 2020
Howard Forman, an Emergency/trauma radiologist and health policy/economics Professor, slammed Kudlow’s remarks on Twitter: “Maybe the stock-market puppeteers should get together with the actual scientists. While Larry Kudlow is telling us not to worry, our CDC is giving apt advice.”
Maybe the stock-market puppeteers should get together with the actual scientists. While @larry_kudlow is telling us not to worry, our CDC is giving apt advice. https://t.co/aBTQdMOxFZ pic.twitter.com/Y7XX9LWS2n
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) February 25, 2020
CNBC anchor Scott Wapner disputed his former colleague’s comments:
I'm sorry, but how can anyone declare that, "we have contained this" when they have absolutely no idea how bad it will get here and the CDC itself says moments ago that the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States "might be bad."
— Scott Wapner (@ScottWapnerCNBC) February 25, 2020
— Aaron Mehta (@AaronMehta) February 25, 2020