Coronavirus: Trump wants to be reassuring

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump tried to reassure the American public and the markets worried on Wednesday about the spread of the coronavirus, by appointing his vice president Mike Pence to coordinate the fight against the disease and ensuring that the risk of contagion spread in the country was “very weak”.

“I’m charging Mike Pence” to respond to the epidemic, Trump said at a press conference in the White House, along with key health officials in the United States.

According to him, Mr. Pence is an “expert” for having led in 2014 the fight against another coronavirus, the MERS, when he was governor of Indiana.

The risk of spreading the coronavirus in the country is “very low,” said the president, welcoming the first actions in place, such as travel restrictions from China.

However, he said he would decide “in due course” on further restrictions to and from infected areas, while the numbers of people affected by COVID-19 appear to be falling in China, “which is good news.”

A wide spread of the virus is not “inevitable”, he assured even if the United States, relatively spared so far with 15 cases detected in the country, are ready to respond to the epidemic to “a much larger scale. ”

“Hospitals in some states are freeing up rooms and building quarantine spaces” and the administration has “ordered” many protective masks “just in case,” he said. Because the “degree of risk is likely to change quickly,” said Health Secretary Alex Azar, saying he expected “to see more cases in the United States.”

Trump also said he was ready to devote an “appropriate” envelope to the fight against the epidemic.

The White House has asked Congress for $ 2.5 billion in funding, but the Democratic opposition estimates it will take much more, claiming $ 8.5 billion.

“No reason to panic”

The Republican billionaire took the opportunity to castigate the leader of the Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, who “is trying to create panic” by asking for such a large sum “when there is no reason to panic”. M me Pelosi had said Wednesday morning that the Trump plan was “shameful, lean [and] anemic” to the epidemic.

In the morning, he had already denounced on Twitter the mainstream media which “create panic in the markets” after the collapse of the Wall Street Stock Exchange Monday and Tuesday because of fears related to the epidemic.

“I think the stock market will recover, the economy is very strong,” said the president, who made economic performance in the United States the main argument of his re-election campaign.

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