President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with airline executives at the White House Wednesday to discuss the novel coronavirus and safety of Americans.
United Airlines said Wednesday that it would cut back on its number of flights as fewer people are traveling because of COVID-19, as as the new coronavirus is officially known. Later Wednesday, Southwest Airlines also said it might need to reduce its number of flights as the number of confirmed cases in the country climbed above 200.
“Mr. President, you said from early on that we were going to have a whole-of-government approach,” Pence said. “But the truth is, as evidenced by all these great industry leaders, it’s really a whole-of-America approach.”
While the risk of contracting the COVID-19 for the average American remains low, the Trump administration says it is taking every precaution available to keep families and communities safe.
In addition to suspending travel from China early on, as of Tuesday, all passengers on direct flights from Italy or South Korea to America are being screened multiple times before boarding.
“Everyone here should know that we’re going to continue to follow the facts and the data,” Pence said.
Trump also held a roundtable briefing Wednesday afternoon with experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland. The U.S. stock market remained volatile Wednesday in large part because of uncertainty about the virus. The Dow tumbled 1,000 points in early trading.
Despite the latest coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. economy continued to grow in February.
“U.S. companies kept adding jobs in February despite the coronavirus scare, as private payrolls expanded well above the pace that Wall Street had anticipated,” Jeff Cox of CNBC reported. “Employment excluding government jobs rose by 183,000 for the month, topping the 155,000 that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected.”
Dr. Marc Seigal said he has studied emerging contagions for many years.
“I have seen them mismanaged, hyped and poorly messaged,” Seigal said. “In fact, I have never seen a new virus or bacteria handled as well by our public health officials as this one, with sober attention paid to identifying, isolating and tracing.”
“Since being named to the coronavirus task force, I’ve quickly made a few observations,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams writes for CNN. “It is clear we must continue to help Americans understand how to protect themselves, but also that we mustn’t recreate the wheel. To address the disease outbreak, we can rely on tried-and-true planning and preparation that was begun long ago.”
A recent Gallup poll that found 77 percent of the population in the U.S. is very or somewhat confident in the government’s ability to handle the coronavirus, up significantly from 58 percent from the Ebola virus in 2014 and 67 percent from the swine flu in 2009.
This article was first published by The Center Square.