Trump Coronavirus: A timeline of the president’s changing virus response

Trump Coronavirus: A timeline of the president’s changing virus response

Donald Trump’s record on tackling the coronavirus has up until this point been considered deficient in applied practice. In January, the president praised China’s response to the outbreak, including the country erecting several makeshift hospitals to deal with the thousands who were being confirmed as having contract the virus.

Yet, at that point, the chance of an outbreak in the US seemed a world away, and, with Trump tangled in his fight against impeachment, much of his focus was taken away.

By the end of January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus a global health emergency and Trump’s administration took the move to restrict travel from China.

In February, Trump was acquitted of impeachment, and appointed Mike Pence to oversee the US’ operations against coronavirus.

Little came of this, however, with Trump even claiming that the US – which had its first virus was confirmed on January 21 – would rid itself of COVID-19 in two weeks.

Trump's timeline in battling coronavirus has fluctuated

Trump’s timeline in battling coronavirus has fluctuated (Image: GETTY)

At the beginning of the year the president was confident the virus would not seriously impact the US

At the beginning of the year the president was confident the virus would not seriously impact the US (Image: GETTY)

Fast forward a month and Trump upped his rhetoric against the virus, claiming the virus wouldn’t amount to anything worse than the annual flu.

He predicted that the economy would open by Easter, with business returning to normalcy, because, he said: “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem.

“We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems.”

On Sunday, Trump appeared to relent on his previous advice and urged Americans to cease social gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools.

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Now Trump is scrambling to contain the virus within the US which has become the hardest hit country

Now Trump is scrambling to contain the virus within the US which has become the hardest hit country (Image: GETTY)

The UK is similarly battling the virus as it tears through its health services

The UK is similarly battling the virus as it tears through its health services (Image: GETTY)

In Brazil Jair Bolsonaro entered Brazil into a state of emergency to curb the virus' economic impact

In Brazil Jair Bolsonaro entered Brazil into a state of emergency to curb the virus’ economic impact (Image: GETTY)

Prediction models created by Trump’s team of experts said between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus, even if citizens abided by social distancing rules.

Meanwhile, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, told reporters that models show a worst case scenario of between 1.5m and 2.2m deaths in the US “without mitigation”.

But with measures properly put in place, she said the “mountain” could be reduced to a “hill” – this being the 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

She added that the figure could be further reduced if people changed their behaviour.

The countries best and worst prepared for the pandemic

The countries best and worst prepared for the pandemic (Image: Express Newspapers)

Asked whether Americans were ready for 100,000 deaths, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “The answer is yes. As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.

“Is it going to be that much?

“I hope not, and I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it will be that number.

“We are really convinced mitigation is going to be doing the trick for us.”

Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro has entered the entire country into lockdown

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro has entered the entire country into lockdown (Image: GETTY)

He added: “We’re going to continue to see things go up. We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working.

“Now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator and on the brake, but to just press it down on the accelerator.

“And that’s what I hope and I know that we can do over the next 30 days.”

Published at Wed, 01 Apr 2020 23:01:00 +0000