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Science Can’t Save Us From Coronavirus Panic

But Trump’s Information Crackdown Can Certainly Make Things Worse

U.S. President Donald Trump, Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and CDC Associate Director Steve Monroe at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, March 2020   Tom Brenner / Reuters 

On February 24, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the United States should prepare for widespread domestic transmission of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, President Donald Trump contradicted the advice on Twitter. “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” the president wrote.

Two days later, amid criticism of the president’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the White House announced that Vice President Mike Pence would coordinate all public health messaging about the outbreak. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told MSNBC’s Hardball that he had not been “muzzled” but noted that he had received clearance to appear on the program.

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