6 ways the Trump administration has already botched responding to the coronavirus

U.S. President Trump holds news conference on the coronavirus outbreak at the White House in Washington Reuters
  • Basic preparedness for a pandemic in the United States has been hampered by the Trump administration’s handling of key agencies, faulty testing kits and mistakes in the quarantine process.
  • Switzerland is able to conduct 1,000 coronavirus tests a day. The US has so far only conducted 445 total, making it hard to assess the full scope of potential US infection. One patient in California waited days to be tested.
  • The CDC has warned that the spread of the virus to the U.S. may be “inevitable,” with California reporting Thursday that 8,400 people in the state are being monitored.
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As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, the Trump administration has hampered the United States’ response through blunders and cuts to public health.

In a meandering press conference yesterday, President Donald Trump tried to assuage fears and calm the markets by downplaying the severity of the illness, officially known as COVID-19, that has already killed more than 2,800 people worldwide and infected over 82,000, most of whom are in China.

These are six ways the Trump administration has bungled preparedness for a pandemic and its response to the outbreak.

1. Sick and healthy passengers from a quarantined cruise ship were sent on the same flight home.

Passengers wearing masks have their body temperatures taken after leaving the coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, February 21, 2020. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

The CDC did not want infected passengers and healthy ones to from the Diamond Princess cruise to fly back to the United States on the same flight, but the State Department overruled them and put 14 patients in a quarantine box at the back of the plane.

Since then, 28 people on that flight have gotten sick.

2. Despite telling Americans to get tested for the virus, US health agencies are behind the eight-ball with testing lagging behind.

US passengers leave the Daikaku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port, next to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, on February 17, 2020. Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. is lagging far behind other nations in testing for the coronavirus amid a lack of funding, with Switzerland, despite having a population 38 times smaller, able to conduct 1,000 tests per day.

As of Wednesday, only 445 Americans had been tested for the virus.

3. A coronavirus patient in California wasn’t tested for days.

Blood samples wait to be processed in a freezer. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Federal restrictions resulted in a California patient with the coronavirus having to wait days to be tested, according to a New York Times report.

Today, California announced there are 8,400 people being monitored in the state for the virus.

4. CDC testing has been limited, so the full extent of the virus stateside is hard to pin down.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP) Associated Press

The U.S. government’s version of the Coronavirus test has had some hiccups and was proven faulty, leading to doubts around the statistics attempting to pin down the outbreak’s severity stateside, according to a Washington Post report.

5. On top of all that, Trump has made funding cuts to the CDC over the past two years.

President Donald Trump with members of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

In 2018, the CDC axed 80% of its capabilities to combat disease outbreaks due to a funding depletion while the White House jettisoned a position on the National Security Council specifically for respond to a global pandemic. In the latest budget, the White House sought to cut CDC’s budget by 16%.

6. A US patient infected with the coronavirus was accidentally released from the hospital after initial tests failed to pick up symptoms.

A personnel wearing protective suit waits near an entrance at the Cheung Hong Estate, a public housing estate during evacuation of residents in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Associated Press

An American evacuee who was infected with the Wuhan coronavirus was accidentally released from a San Diego hospital.

After being evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this month, the patient was initially brought to a quarantine facility with three others after they all tested negative for the virus.

The person has returned to a US hospital for more observation and isolation.