Fox News guest and pro-Trump leader claims coronavirus is 'actually hard to get' by pointing to himself
- A Fox News guest who visited CPAC downplayed the coronavirus's efficacy by referring to his own symptoms.
- Matt Schlapp, the husband of former White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp and the chairman of a pro-Trump group, said he personally "never had a symptom."
- "People become near hysterical when they feel like they could get this virus very easily," Schlapp said. "And what the CPAC experience has taught the whole country ... is that it's actually hard to get it."
- The World Health Organization on Wednesday classified the COVID-19 disease as a global pandemic, after over 110,000 people were infected and 4,200 died, the majority of cases in China.
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A Fox News guest who visited the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where an attendee tested positive for the coronavirus, downplayed the virus's efficacy by referring to his own nonexistent symptoms.
Matt Schlapp, the husband of former White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp and the chairman of the pro-Trump American Conservative Union, said he personally "never had a symptom" from the coronavirus, and brushed aside worries after at least one attendee tested positive.
"One thing we've learned is, even when there's an infected person amongst thousands ... it's very, very difficult to contract this virus," Schlapp said on Fox News on Wednesday morning.
"People become near hysterical when they feel like they could get this virus very easily," Schlapp added. "And what the CPAC experience has taught the whole country ... is that it's actually hard to get it."
At least five Republican congressional lawmakers have self-quarantined themselves after attending CPAC, which was held between February 26-29 in Maryland. One of the Republicans, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, said he would still undergo a 14-day self-quarantine, despite testing negative for the coronavirus, "under doctor's usual precautionary recommendations."
Schlapp downplayed the warnings raised by scientists on the coronavirus's propensity to spread through human hosts, and contradicted their advice.
"What we can't do is get people thinking that the test is what matters," Schlapp said on Fox News. "What matters is your symptoms. I don't have any. The president doesn't have any."
Although US-based scientists from the Johns Hopkins University reportedly warned that most people who contract the virus show symptoms by the fifth day, they added that the virus can still be transferred through a carrier up to 27 days after their infection.
Schlapp's portrayal of the virus mimicked that of other Fox News opinion hosts in recent weeks. Several of these hosts, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, have portrayed concerns over the virus as one that was overhyped by news organizations.
His comments also come as the White House ordered health officials to secretly classify top-level meetings on the coronavirus, according to four Trump administration officials in a Reuters report.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday classified the COVID-19 disease as a global pandemic, after over 110,000 people were infected and 4,200 died, the majority of cases in China. So far, around 30 people in the US have died and over 1,000 people were infected.
President Donald Trump and other senior officials have been criticized after similarly downplaying the coronavirus's spread in the US.
"A lot people will have this and it's very mild," Trump said last week. "They'll get better very rapidly. They don't even see a doctor. They don't even call a doctor."
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