8,400 Travelers Being Monitored for Coronavirus in California, As Trump Defends His Response

Susan Jones | February 28, 2020 | 7:26am EST
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President Trump discusses the "fantastic" response to the coronavirus while hosting an African American History Month event at the White House on Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo: Screen capture)
President Trump discusses the "fantastic" response to the coronavirus while hosting an African American History Month event at the White House on Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo: Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump was tweeting late into the night, mostly about the coronavirus, which has whacked the stock market and is generating warnings of a potentially pinched U.S. economy.

The president accused CNN of being "infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome"; he defended his decision to stop flights from China early on; and he criticized the "Do Nothing Democrats" for saying the coronavirus is "the fault of 'Trump.'"

Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Thursday his state is now monitoring some 8,400 people for coronavirus. These are travelers who arrived in California on "more traditional commercial flights that came in from points of concern and potential points of contact, particularly in Asia,” he said.

As of Thursday, Newsom said 33 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in California. Five of those people have left the state, leaving 28 confirmed cases, all but one involving people on repatriation flights or related to travel or to someone who has traveled.

One of the cases "understandably generated a lot of attention," Newsom said, because it's not clear how the person contracted the virus. Press reports said that person was not immediately tested for coronavirus because there was no travel -- or known contact with a traveler -- involved.

Because of that case, Newsom said, the state is now doing "deep tracking and tracing" of individuals who had contact with the sick person; and they are working with federal partners to get more test kits.

"We have just a few hundred testing kits in the State of California, and that's surveillance testing as well as diagnostic testing. It's simply inadequate to the kind of testing that is required to address this issue head-on," Newsom told a news conference.

"And I'm very pleased the CDC is moving expeditiously on that, and they've made firm commitments to the State of California that will significantly, exponentially expand our capacity to advance those testing protocols. Nothing more important than point-of-contact diagnostic testing that can be readily made available so that we can have full spectrum testing of this...virus."

The governor repeated that he is pleased with the response he has gotten from the federal government.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Congress on Thursday that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a three-step test kit within a week of getting the virus "sequence" from China. That test kit has now been scaled back to two steps, which provide a "definitive diagnosis," Azar said.

So far, 40 labs are qualified to test for coronavirus, and by this weekend, all 93 CDC labs around the country will have the ability to test and diagnose, Azar said.

Meanwhile, CDC is working with the private sector to develop what he called a "bedside diagnostic" that can be used by hospitals. "I think the (FDA) Commissioner told me as many as 70 possible diagnostic makers are looking at how to get this up and running at the bedside."

Azar told the hearing that the U.S. is in "active containment mode," meaning it continues to isolate patients who test positive for coronavirus to prevent its spread.

But that "containment" strategy might change, depending on how many people contract the virus: "At some point, if we were in a mitigation mode, people will stay at home, just like with severe flu," Azar said.

"Most individuals who get this coronavirus will have mild to moderate symptoms, will be able to stay home and treat it like the flu or a severe cold and present at a hospital only for urgent care co-morbidity," Azar said. "So, it's really important we correct this impression that it will require this massive hospital isolation for normal patients."

President Trump addressed the coronavirus at an African American History Month reception on Thursday:

"It starts with a problem that they have in China. And you say, that's too bad. And then it gets bigger, it starts mushrooming. Then I close the border -- I say just in case -- and we have 15 people instead of thousands of people...who are almost all better now. But we do things, and it would be really nice if we could be recognized by the press fairly."

Trump said the virus "is going to disappear -- one day, it's like the miracle, it will disappear," but he admitted "it could get worse before it gets better, it could maybe go away, we'll see what happens. Nobody really knows...but we have done, and our professionals have done, a fantastic job."

Here are Trump's most recent tweets on the subject:

-- The Do Nothing Democrats were busy wasting time on the Immigration Hoax, & anything else they could do to make the Republican Party look bad, while I was busy calling early BORDER & FLIGHT closings, putting us way ahead in our battle with Coronavirus. Dems called it VERY wrong!

-- So, the Coronavirus, which started in China and spread to various countries throughout the world, but very slowly in the U.S. because President Trump closed our border, and ended flights, VERY EARLY, is now being blamed, by the Do Nothing Democrats, to be the fault of “Trump”.

-- “Diagnosis positive: @CNN is infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome. I’m calling out CNN for irresponsibly politicizing what should be a unifying battle against a virus that doesn’t choose sides.” @trish_regan @FoxNews Like I say, they are Fake News!

-- Congratulations and thank you to our great Vice President & all of the many professionals doing such a fine job at CDC & all other agencies on the Coronavirus situation. Only a very small number in U.S., & China numbers look to be going down. All countries working well together!

-- “Anti-Trump Network @CNN doing whatever it can to stoke a national Coronavirus panic. The far left Network pretty much ignoring anyone who they interview who doesn’t blame President Trump.” @trish_regan @FoxNews Media refuses to discuss the great job our professionals are doing!


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