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Trump says he’s ordering many ‘elements of medical’ for coronavirus

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  • President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US is ordering many supplies to prepare for a possible outbreak of coronavirus within the country’s borders.
  • Among those supplies, he said, are “a lot of different elements of medical.”
  • It’s unclear what the president meant by “elements of medical.”
  • His statements came as the White House weathers a firestorm over its conflicting messages about the severity of the coronavirus threat and its attempts to muzzle public health officials from giving more information to the public about the disease.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is on top of handling the US’s response to a potential pandemic as the deadly coronavirus sweeps the globe.

“We’re order a lot of supplies,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that, frankly, we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

It’s unclear what the president meant by “elements of medical.”

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 2,858, with more than 83,000 people infected, as of Thursday night. China has seen a drop-off in its rate of new cases, but the virus seems to be gaining momentum in other parts of the world.

As of Thursday, the coronavirus had spread to every province and region in China as well as at least 51 other countries. At least 64 people have died outside of mainland China.

Public health officials in the US warned this week that the disease’s outbreak within the country is more or less inevitable.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a press call on Tuesday. “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

Messonnier also said the agency was “preparing as if we are going to see community spread in the near term,” adding that the outbreak could soon lead to a “disruption to everyday life.”

But the president has downplayed the risk and released conflicting messages about the severity of the global outbreak.

The New York Times also reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on allergy and infectious diseases, told associates that the White House had barred him from discussing anything about the virus until getting further clearance. And he was also reportedly asked to cancel a series of scheduled Sunday show appearances this week.

During a two-day trip to India earlier this week, Trump said China, which is at the epicenter of the outbreak, has things under control.

On Wednesday, Trump announced that he was putting Vice President Mike Pence, a hardline loyalist with a spotty record of handling health crises, in charge of the White House task force to respond to the coronavirus, known as the COVID-19 virus.

On Thursday, during a meeting with African-American leaders at the White House, Trump acknowledged that “we have a situation with the virus,” but added that “we’ve done a great job” addressing it and that “the press won’t give us credit for it.”

“What happened over the last couple of weeks with this — and it just — you know, this is life,” Trump said as medical professional and science experts continued sounding the alarm about a potential coronavirus epidemic in the US.

The president also downplayed the threat of the virus because there aren’t as many cases of the disease in the US as there in China. “We have 15 people instead of thousands of people,” he said. “Okay? It could have been thousands of people. But we do things. And it would be really nice if we could be recognized by the press fairly.”

He went on to say that the virus is “going to disappear” one day “like a miracle.”

But he later appeared to contradict himself, saying, “And from our shores, we, you know, it could get worse before it gets better.”

“We’ll see what happens,” he added. “Nobody really knows.”

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