(CNSNews.com) - Criticism of the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus runs 24/7 on liberal cable channels CNN and MSNBC. But on Monday night, Fox News's Tucker Carlson warned that "the Chinese coronavirus is a major event"; its effects will soon become much worse; and our leaders have not helped us "take it seriously."
"People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem," Carlson said:
"It's just partisan politics, they say. Calm down. In the end this was just like the flu, and people die from that every year. Coronavirus will pass. And when it does, we will feel foolish for worrying about it. That's their position.
"No doubt these people have good intentions as they say this, many of them anyway. They may not know any better. Maybe they're just not paying attention. Or maybe they believe they are serving some higher cause by shading reality."
Carlson said there is "no denying" that we're experiencing an epidemic, and the economic damage "may dog us for years."
"People you know will get sick, some may die."
Carlson rejected comparisons to the flu, noting the overall death rate for coronavirus is much higher -- "34 times deadlier," especially for older, sicker Americans.
"So what will things look like once the epidemic matures in America?" Carlson asked. He pointed to Italy, which has essentially closed down.
"Italy is now suffering almost 100 casualties, people who have died every day from the virus. That's far worse than here. But the only difference likely is time. Early evidence suggests it takes about six days for the number of coronavirus cases to double.
"If that trend holds here in the United States, it will be just a few weeks until we are where Italy is now. In a few months, if nothing stops the virus, there will be millions of cases here. This is bad more than simply for physical health."
Carlson pointed to the stock market plunge and predictions of recession:
"If a recession does hit, it will not be so simple to fight it. The usual stimulus efforts, tax cuts and lower rates, won't reopen factories that have shut down to contain the virus. It won't get people to eat at closed restaurants or shop in closed malls or attend cancelled sporting events. We are going to have a demand problem in this economy, and that's a big deal.
"In other words, our country is likely to experience a painful period we are powerless to stop. None of this is justification to panic. You shouldn't panic. In crisis it's more important than ever to be calm. But staying calm is not the same as remaining complacent. It does not mean assuring people that everything will be fine. We don't know that.
"Instead, it's better to tell the truth. That is always the surest sign of strength. As they level with us, our leaders ought to prepare the public for what may come next."
Carlson mentioned travel restrictions, work-from-home orders, and cancellation of public events.
"We should also focus on preparing our healthcare system for the worst...We cannot stop this epidemic. We can only limit the damage that it does. Now is also the time to start looking ahead to the future. Think about what it would mean to face a deadlier version of coronavirus. It's not unimaginable. It's very easy to imagine. Are we ready for that? We're not ready now. We ought to be."
Carlson said one of the first things the U.S. should do is break its dependence on China for critical pharmaceutical supplies. He noted that last week, China's official news service floated the idea of banning exports of drugs to the United States: "In other words, they're threatening to kill us, and that's not an empty threat."
Carlson's opening monologue concluded:
"The Chinese coronavirus will get worse. Its effects will be far more disruptive than they are right now. That is not a guess. It is inevitable. Let's hope everyone stops lying about that, and soon."