Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Tuesday afternoon criticized the Trump administration’s preparations for the possible spread of the deadly Chinese coronavirus in the United States.
“I’m very disappointed in the degree to which we’ve prepared for a pandemic, both in terms of protective equipment and in terms of medical devices that would help people once they are infected,” Romney, a staunch critic of President Donald Trump, told reporters, according to The Hill. “At this stage, I think we are substantially underinvesting in what would be appropriate for a setting which could be serious.”
Romney, who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, added that further outbreak in the country could be thwarted, though “we don’t know what the future holds.”
The senator added: “I think we should be pulling out all the stops.”
Romney’s remark comes after President Trump said that the illness is “very much under control” in the U.S. and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have been “working hard and very smart” to stop it.
As of Tuesday, 57 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., which includes the 40 American citizens repatriated from the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. The illness that originated in Wuhan, China has now infected over 80,000 people across the world. 77,000 of such cases have been confirmed in China with others in Europe and the Middle East.
Earlier Tuesday, a top CDC warned that the spread of the virus in the U.S. is highly likely and that could drastically impact Americans’ everyday life.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” added the top public health official. “Disruption to everyday life might be severe.”
“The data over the last week and spread in other countries has certainly raised our level of concern, and raised our level of expectation that we are going to have community spread here, so that has changed our tone,” she concluded.