Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of Obamacare and special advisor to the director-general of the World Health Organization, accused President Donald Trump of being “ignorant” and “incoherent” regarding his administration’s response to the deadly Chinese coronavirus.
“I found most of what he said a little incoherent,” Emanuel told MSNBC’s Hardball on Wednesday, noting that the president was surprised to learn how many people die from the flu each year.
"I found most of what he said incoherent."
— Hardball (@hardball) February 27, 2020
“You know, he’s a guy that admitted that he’s surprised that 25,000 to 69,000 people each year die of the flu. That just tells you how little he actually knows about public health and about the health of the American public,” Emanuel continued. “He just revealed how ignorant he is about the situation. We don’t know how similar or dissimilar this is to the flu.
“We know one thing. It is actually more communicable than the flu. It passes between people very, very easily,” he added.
Emanuel’s criticism followed a press conference where President Trump announced the appointment of Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday to lead the United States’ response to the illness that originated in Wuhan, China.
President Trump said Pence will work with professionals, doctors and others working on the response to the disease known as COVID-19 and will report back directly to him.
“We have no higher priority than the safety, security, health and wellbeing of the American people,” Pence said during a news conference at the White House.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there have been 15 cases of COVID-19 in the United States in addition to three cases of people who came from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus and 42 who were brought in from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which docked in Japan.
President Trump said that many of the people who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus are doing “very well.”
“Of the 15 people… eight of them have returned to their homes, to stay at their homes until they’re fully recovered. One is in the hospital, five have fully recovered and one we think is in pretty good shape,” he said. “In almost all cases, they’re getting better.”
The UPI contributed to this report.