US President Donald Trump announced a White House press conference on the coronavirus epidemic on Wednesday. Experts warn that it will spread in the United States.
"I will be holding a press conference on this topic at the White House today at 6:00 p.m." Trump tweeted, adding that officials from U.S. centers for disease control and prevention would participate.
Authorities have urged Americans to develop plans to avoid mass gatherings and bleak warnings that countries are unwilling to contain an outbreak that has infected 80,000 people, mainly in China.
Critics, including legislators on both sides of the aisle, expressed growing concern about the Trump administration's response to the crisis.
Wall Street stocks opened higher after suffering a second round on Tuesday. Losses increased after U.S. health officials warned that the epidemic would likely hit the world's largest economy.
With cases reported in more countries – and bans in countries like Austria, Italy, and Spain – traders are increasingly worried about the impact on the global economy.
Democrats have pointed to a White House request to Congress to make drastic cuts in the budgets of science and health agencies like the National Institutes of Health.
On Monday, the White House sent a request to Congress to allocate at least $ 2.5 billion for preparation and response, including the development of treatments and vaccines, and the purchase of equipment for a strategic national supply.
However, Trump has not appointed a central person or task force for the crisis, while the position of global health security expert on the National Security Council has been vacant for almost two years.
"Incompetent and dangerous"
Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate chairman, addressed Trump directly and tweeted: "It was incompetent and dangerous that: You have limited our ability to prevent epidemics. You have proposed cuts in CDC funding.
"You only trusted other governments (like China) to deal with it. You can turn it the way you want, but it's incompetence."
The president told reporters in India that experts were "very close to a vaccine" and forced White House officials to later clarify that he was talking about Ebola and not about the novel corona virus.
He also underestimated the number of infections in the United States.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow was also criticized after telling CNBC that the virus was "contained" – on the same day, the CDC warned that a US outbreak was inevitable.
In the meantime, Republican Senator John Kennedy was frustrated with the Department of Homeland Security director, Chad Wolf, who was unable to answer questions about mortality rates on Tuesday.
However, Trump has insisted that his government "do a great job" to deal with the crisis, and accused the media of trying to instill fear in a tweet that he misspelled the name of the virus.
"Low ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything they can to make the carona virus look as bad as possible, including panicked markets if possible," he tweeted, using a derogatory name for the MSNBC cable network the Democratic National Committee.
"Likewise, their incompetent comrades talk about Do Nothing Democrat everyone, no action. USA in great shape!"
However, California Congressman and former presidential candidate Eric Swalwell replied that the Democrats wanted nothing more than that Trump could successfully deal with the crisis.
"Because the alternative is your incompetence (and your selfish agenda), this leads to a massive outbreak in our country," he tweeted.
"Seriously, don't screw it up."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)