May 3, 2020 - Health

Kudlow defends claiming U.S. had coronavirus "contained" in February

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow defended his claim on Feb. 25 that the U.S. had "contained" the coronavirus "pretty close to airtight," arguing on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that his comments were "based on the actual facts" at the time.

Why it matters: Kudlow is among the White House officials who have faced criticism for downplaying the looming impact of the virus, which has now infected more than 1 million Americans and killed over 66,000.

At the time of Kudlow's comments, the country had 15 known coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • That same day, however, Nancy Messonnier, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters a coronavirus outbreak in the country was inevitable.
  • “It’s not a question of if but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness," she said, according to Politico.

What he's saying:

"My quote then was based on the actual facts, which at the time, there were only 40 or 50 cases, and it was contained — particularly after President Trump boldly put up travel restrictions with China. ... There was hardly any cases. Yes, some doctors were more fearful. Other doctors had many different things to say. ... Then, as the virus spread exponentially in ways that virtually no one could have predicted, of course we changed our mind.
Going forward, the president and the vice president have taken strong measures ... to deal with this unexpected outbreak. And I think the sort of ankle-biting that's going on in Washington is just incorrect. You have to deal with the information at hand. When the information changes, we changed our strategy. So did everyone else around the world."
— Larry Kudlow

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14 hours ago - Health

Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response

Protesters in Philadelphia on June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests against police brutality have prompted the closure of coronavirus test sites across the country, including in Pennsylvania, Florida, California and Illinois, Politico reports.

Why it matters: This adds to concerns that the protests themselves create an environment in which the virus can easily spread, particularly if and when protesters aren't wearing masks or social distancing.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Even with early curfews in New York City and Washington, D.C., protesters are still out en masse. Some protesters in D.C. said they were galvanized by President Trump's photo op in front of St. John's Church on Monday and threat to deploy U.S. troops in the rest of country if violence isn't quelled, NBC News reports.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.