Trump is furious with the CDC for doing its job

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Trump is furious with the CDC for doing its job

U.S.President Donald Trump points to a question during a news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried out its responsibility on Tuesday by warning the US public of the increased risk of a coronavirus outbreak within the country.
  • The announcement enraged President Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post, because he believes the CDC's warnings spooked investors and contributed to the stock market's downturn over the last two days.
  • Trump has spent the last several days downplaying the severity and likelihood of a potential outbreak, saying China - where the virus originated last year - has the situation under control.
  • He also blamed falsely Democrats and the mainstream media for stoking fears about the virus and claimed the "USA [is] in great shape!"
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Public health officials announced on Tuesday that the US should prepare for a coronavirus outbreak and enraged President Donald Trump in the process.

"It's not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a press call. "We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

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Messonnier also said the agency was "preparing as if we are going to see community spread in the near term," adding that the outbreak could soon lead to a "disruption to everyday life."

The announcement infuriated Trump, the Washington Post reported, because he believes the CDC's warnings spooked investors and contributed to the stock market's downturn over the last two days.

The Dow Jones tumbled more than 1,000 points on Monday and plunged nearly 900 points on Tuesday. According to CNBC, it was the first time the benchmark posted consecutive losses of at least 800 points.

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The president, meanwhile, is significantly downplaying the severity of a potential coronavirus outbreak in the US.

"China is working very, very hard," Trump told reporters at a business roundtable at the US embassy in New Delhi. "I have spoken to President Xi, and they are working very hard. If you know anything about him, I think he will be in pretty good shape. They have had a rough patch, but now it looks like they are getting it more and more under control. I think that is a problem that is going to go away."

Early Wednesday, Trump suggested the mainstream media and Democratic lawmakers are trying to stoke fears about the spread of the virus.

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"Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible," he tweeted. "Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!"

The president also tagged the CDC's Twitter handle in a subsequent tweet and said he will hold a news conference about the coronavirus at the White House later Wednesday, adding that CDC officials will be present.

Trump's comments are at odds with reality and fly in the face of repeated warnings from public health officials.

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The US is currently restricting travel to and from China - where the coronavirus originated last year - and quarantining identified cases of the disease.

But Messonnier said on Tuesday that the fact that the disease is spreading to countries outside the region it originated in has raised the CDC's concerns and fueled the "expectation that we'll see spread" in the US.

The World Health Organization has identified more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus, known as the COVID-19 virus, across 30 countries and more than 2,700 deaths worldwide. There are more than 50 confirmed cases in the US, and as of Tuesday, there were more than 300 reported cases in Italy and nearly 100 in Iran.

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"When you start to see sustained transmission in other countries throughout the world, it's inevitable that it will come to the United States," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News.

The Post reported this week that Trump was obsessed with following the stock market's fall as he traveled in India over the last two days and, in addition to being angry with the CDC, White House officials are also displeased with how Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services secretary, has handled the situation.

Azar held a news conference on Tuesday in which he downplayed the potential for a coronavirus outbreak in the US, but by that point, the market had already plummeted and Azar's remarks didn't have a noticeable impact on the numbers.

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