The FINANCIAL - President Trump puts VP Mike Pence in charge of US coronavirus response

President Trump puts VP Mike Pence in charge of US coronavirus response

President Trump puts VP Mike Pence in charge of US coronavirus response

The FINANCIAL -- President Trump announced in a Wednesday night press conference that he was putting Vice President Mike Pence "in charge" of coronavirus prevention efforts. The President did not announce any new travel restrictions and said that stocks should recover from their recent swoon.

As fears spread of a possible coronavirus outbreak in the U.S, President Trump addressed the nation in a Wednesday evening news conference at the White House to discuss how his administration was handling the virus threat -- saying that a vaccine is being developed "rapidly" and "coming along very well." The president revealed that of the "15" Americans confirmed to have the virus, eight have "returned to their homes to stay in their homes until fully recovered, one is in the hospital, and five have fully recovered; and one is, uh, we think in pretty good shape, and is in between hospital and going home." Trump later said the person was "pretty sick and hopefully will recover," FOX News wrote.

The President did not announce any new travel restrictions during the news conference, saying that "right now it's not the right time" for restrictions on other countries, including South Korea and Italy, which have had a large number of coronavirus cases. He also told reporters Wednesday that the US was obliged to repatriate the infected American citizens who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. "We could have left them and that would have been very bad," Trump said. The stock market decline especially has exacerbated Trump's rising concerns over how to stem the outbreak of the coronavirus even as he has publicly declared the virus to be "very much under control in the USA," multiple people tell CNN. But investors are growing concerned about the economic impact of the virus, as is the President, whose reelection campaign is banking on a strong economy, CNN reported.

President Trump also announced that he's placing Vice President Mike Pence in charge of efforts to tackle the coronavirus, as the administration seeks to reassure the public and the markets amid the global coronavirus outbreak. The president, speaking for only the second time from the White House press briefing room, tried to instill confidence that his administration is on top of the health epidemic. Minutes after the president ended his press conference, the CDC announced a confirmed case of the virus in California in someone "who reportedly did not have relevant history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19,"according to CBS News.

Trump’s decision to appear as the face of the coronavirus response came after the president and officials the White House were “livid” with the statements made Tuesday by Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Her warning that a coronavirus outbreak in the United States was “not a question of if, but rather a question of when” raised alarm bells and contradicted the public messaging from the White House that the situation was serious, but under control. “I don’t understand how the CDC could make an announcement as important as yesterday without it being tightly coordinated with the [White House],” former President George W. Bush’s press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said on Twitter. “There should have been an Oval Office meeting, a statement by POTUS about protecting people, and then a press avail by experts. Bizarre,” Politco wrote.

The president said stocks should recover from their recent swoon. But as Trump spoke, the news about the “community spread” coronavirus case added to concerns that the coronavirus is spreading at a rapid pace, hitting stock futures, according to CNBC.

Trump brought up the criticism he faced when he closed off travel to China earlier this month, noting that Democrats called him racist because of it. The end result was only 15 or so COVID-19 cases in the US – not counting the 45 people that contracted it in Wuhan, China or on the poorly quarantined cruise ship 'Diamond Princess.' Trump allowed for the possibility that the virus might spread with his usual “we’ll see what happens,” but repeated that the best prevention was treating this as a more dangerous form of seasonal flu: washing hands, not sneezing at people, and so on, RT reported.