Administration defends its handling of the outbreak as lawmakers say more money is needed beyond the president’s $2.5 billion spending plan.

The Wall Street Journal reports President Trump Puts Vice President Pence In Charge of Virus Response.

President Trump said the risk to Americans from coronavirus remains very low, and he put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of federal response efforts as concern about the outbreak grew among lawmakers and as cities nationwide made fresh preparations.

On Capitol Hill, leaders from both parties said they would seek billions of dollars in emergency spending beyond the $2.5 billion plan President Trump has proposed.

“’We’re very, very ready for this, for anything, whether it is going to be a breakout of larger proportions or whether or not we’re at that very low level,” Mr. Trump said at an hourlong White House briefing surrounded by administration health officials and the vice president. “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.”

The fast-moving developments came a day after a top CDC official, Nancy Messonnier, warned businesses, schools and communities to plan for potential outbreaks. Mr. Trump, who has sought to project confidence that the number of cases in the U.S. will be contained, was angered by the tone of the remarks, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

U.S. stocks fell for the fifth consecutive session Wednesday as investors continued to assess the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the U.S. should expect more coronavirus cases, and Mr. Trump called on schools to prepare “just in case.” He said he didn’t think it was inevitable that the virus would spread across the U.S.

“This will end,” Mr. Trump said.

This Will End, But Questions Remain

  1. When?
  2. How?
  3. Will it return in the fall if it ends soon?
  4. How many will get seriously ill?
  5. How many will die?
  6. What's the economic impact?

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Exaggerating the Threat

Some Republicans, including Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Mitt Romney of Utah, have joined Democrats in calling for a czar to supervise operations.

Mr. Azar has faced criticism for his handling of the U.S. response to the virus and has butted heads with some administration officials, according to people familiar with the matter. A former drug company executive who has worked on disease outbreaks as an HHS official in the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Azar was doing a “fantastic job,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump, who returned Wednesday morning from a trip to India, has accused Democrats and the media of exaggerating the threat.

Clearly, Trump does not understand pandemics.

It's unclear if Trump will benefit if there is no serious outbreak in the US. However, if things escalate, it is clear he will get slammed.

Prepared for Anything?

It is impossible to be prepared for "anything".

For example, are we prepared for a nuclear suitcase bomb? A massive solar flare that would shut down all communication?

Even if there is no serious outbreak in the US, Trump made a very reckless set of statements.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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