Trump Stresses Travel Precautions, Anticipates Market Rebound

CDC coronavirus test
CDC's laboratory test kit for the coronavirus. (CDC via AP)

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President Donald Trump stressed public safety is his administration’s priority as it addresses growing concerns with the spread of the coronavirus. Trump also told reporters at the White House Feb. 29 he believed markets would rebound after experiencing recent record lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared more than 1,290 points on March 2, setting a record for a single-day point gain.

“The markets are very strong. The consumer is unbelievably strong. The companies are very strong,” said the president before the surge.

When asked what would be the effect from a halt on travel and interruptions to the supply chain, Trump said, “It’s certainly not a good situation when you lose travel. That’s a big part of [the] market. But for a period of time, we’re going to have to do whatever is necessary. Safety, health, number one.”

A White House Coronavirus Task Force led by Vice President Mike Pence includes Acting Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation Joel Szabat, as well as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Pence told reporters, following the president’s remarks: “We are urging Americans to not travel to the areas in Italy, and the areas in South Korea, that are most affected by the coronavirus.” The State Department on Feb. 2 issued a do-not-travel advisory for Americans considering visiting China.

Additionally, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters the risk associated with traveling to California, Oregon and Washington is low.

“I encourage Americans to go about their life,” said Redfield. “We will continue to have aggressive public health response with our state and local, territorial health departments to get a better understanding of these community cases that we’ve now begun to see.”

Appearing before a House panel Feb. 27, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said federal aviation officials are working with international counterparts to provide health information.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) asked the secretary for details about the department’s preparation for the coronavirus. DeFazio’s office told Transport Topics it had yet to hear from the secretary’s office.

2020-02-26 US DOT Letter to... by Transport Topics on Scribd

“The lack of effective federal-led coordination and collaboration with industry in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak has become apparent over the last several weeks,” DeFazio and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee, wrote Chao on Feb. 26. “U.S. airlines have expressed concern about the scope of CDC requests and expectations regarding airlines’ collection of certain inbound passenger data, and CDC officials have expressed concern about their ability to access information from the airlines.”

According to the CDC, 43 cases of individuals with COVID-19 have been identified through U.S. public health surveillance systems since Jan. 21. Of that, 17 have been hospitalized and two have died. States that reported cases of COVID-19 include Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The CDC said the virus’ name is SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19.


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