Media Outlets Examine Trump Administration’s Response To Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Domestically, Abroad

CNBC: Trump says coronavirus outbreak is ‘all under control’ and a ‘very small problem’ in U.S.
“President Donald Trump said the U.S. government was working closely with China to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has killed at least [200] people, predicting ‘a very good ending’ for the United States. ‘We are working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us, that I can assure you,’ Trump said Thursday while visiting a manufacturing plant for auto supplier Dana in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Trump said U.S. officials believe ‘we have it all under control,’ adding that it’s a ‘very small problem in this country’…” (Wayland, 1/30).

The Hill: House panel to hold hearing on response to coronavirus
“A House panel announced Thursday that it will hold a hearing next week on how the federal government is handling the global coronavirus outbreak. Next Wednesday’s hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation will be the first congressional hearing on the coronavirus, which has killed at least [200] people. The hearing is currently slated to feature testimony from a group of experts on China and public health…” (Marcos, 1/30).

POLITICO: Trump sticks embattled health chief with coronavirus response
“In the span of a day, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar suddenly became the face of the Trump White House’s public response to the Wuhan coronavirus. He could just as easily become the fall guy if the president grows unhappy with the speed or nature of the virus’ transmission, or the increasingly intense media coverage surrounding the administration’s actions. … On Monday, several senior officials expressed extreme frustration with Azar and the White House’s response, feeling that the administration was caught flat-footed. Some specifically criticized Azar for not widely sharing information and being too slow to ramp up the administration’s efforts…” (Cook/Diamond, 1/30).

STAT: A coronavirus ‘czar’? Trump took the opposite course: a 12-member committee
“…[S]ome lawmakers and public health experts say that an obvious step is for President Trump to appoint a White House-level coordinator, a coronavirus ‘czar.’ What works best, they said, is to have a quarterback who has both the ear of the president and the backing to corral the sprawling federal agencies that would respond to an epidemic. … This week, President Trump took the opposite approach. Rather than a single overseer, he appointed a committee of 12 headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar … While some question Trump’s strategy, others said they were not convinced a coordinator role would suit this White House…” (Fox, 1/31).

Washington Post: Trump under growing pressure on U.S. response to growing coronavirus threat
“President Trump, a leading critic of the Obama White House’s handling of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, is under increasing political pressure to mount a coordinated federal response to the threat of the new strain of coronavirus — amid fears of a global health crisis with economic ramifications in an election year. … Trump has been uncharacteristically muted on the coronavirus. … But increasingly, there is a feeling among aides that the president must say more, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. … Some global health security experts said that a more senior White House official should be in charge of the Trump administration’s response given that Azar has little authority over other agencies…” (Nakamura et al., 1/30).

Additional coverage of the Trump administration’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak is available from The Hill, POLITICO, and Reuters.