Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel said that Trump’s Wednesday briefing revealed “how little he actually knows” about the outbreak.
Pesident Donald Trump’s response to the spread of coronavirus proves he does not understand the danger nor how to slow the outbreak, a World Health Organization (WHO) official has warned.
WHO Special Adviser to the Director Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel told MSNBC Wednesday that Trump’s briefing on the virus was largely “incoherent” and betrayed how little the president knows about the challenges facing public health.
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Trump announced Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence—who has been criticized for an anti-science stance on issues including an HIV outbreak in Indiana—will lead the response to the outbreak. The president maintained that the risk to Americans is “very low” and that the country is “ready” to respond.
Trump compared the COVID-2019 strain to the flu and said he was surprised to learn that regular flu kills between 25,000 and 69,000 people in the U.S. each year.
But the briefing did not elicit much confidence among experts, including Emanuel. He told MSNBC host Chris Matthews that most of what Trump said was “a little incoherent.”
Trump’s surprise at the impact of flu revealed more about public health and about the health of the American public,” Emanuel added. “Every doctor knows that and lots of health policy experts know that.”
Emanuel said the president was wrong to conflate coronavirus with the flu. “We don’t know how similar or dissimilar this is to the flu,” he explained. “We know one thing, it actually is more communicable than the flu, it passes between people very, very easily.”