Messaging On COVID-19 Differs Between White House Officials, Government Health Experts; Top Infectious Disease Expert Warns Outbreak Will Get Worse In U.S.

The Atlantic: Trump’s Dangerously Effective Coronavirus Propaganda
“From the moment the coronavirus reached the United States, President Donald Trump has seemed determined to construct an alternate reality around the outbreak. In the information universe he has formed, COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is no worse than the seasonal flu; criticism of his response to it is a ‘hoax’; and media coverage of the virus is part of a political conspiracy to destroy his presidency. As with so much of the president’s messaging, this narrative began with tossed-off tweets and impromptu public statements. But in recent days, as U.S. health officials have raised growing concerns about the outbreak, Trump’s efforts to play down the pandemic have been amplified by the same multi-platform propaganda apparatus he’s relying on for reelection in November…” (Coppins, 3/11).

Business Insider: The U.S.’s top infectious-diseases expert said ‘it would be nice’ if Trump hadn’t scrapped the NSC’s global-health unit
“As he warned that the worst is yet to come for the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert told House lawmakers it would be nice if President Donald Trump hadn’t eliminated the National Security Council’s global-health unit. ‘We worked very well with that office. It would be nice if the office was still there,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Wednesday. In May 2018, Trump ordered the NSC’s global-health unit to close and reassigned Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, who would’ve overseen the U.S. response to a pandemic in that role…” (Haltiwanger, 3/11).

The Hill: Top Trump officials adopt more urgent tone as coronavirus spreads
“Top health officials in the Trump administration are increasingly warning the public that the coronavirus outbreak will worsen in the U.S., a notable departure from the message delivered by the president and some aides who had insisted as recently as last week that the virus was contained domestically…” (Samuels, 3/11).

Washington Post: Coronavirus forecasts are grim: ‘It’s going to get worse’
“…Experts have produced forecasts of likely numbers of infections and serious illnesses as well as death tolls, on the basis of what is known about the novel coronavirus and how past epidemics have played out. They suggest that the United States — which has surpassed 1,000 confirmed novel-coronavirus infections and 30 deaths — must prepare for a potentially historic pandemic…” (Achenbach et al., 3/11).

Additional coverage of messaging and communication on COVID-19 is available from CNBC, The Guardian, The Hill (2), MSNBC, New York Times, POLITICO, and Washington Post.