It was supposed to be a decisive show of leadership to soothe widening anxiety in the face of a potential pandemic—but health experts say they have just been left confused by President Trump’s coronavirus briefing. Trump downplayed the seriousness of the deadly outbreak Wednesday night, saying the risk to Americans is still “very low” and that people can relax because Vice President Mike Pence has been put in charge of the administration’s response to the virus. Speaking to MSNBC after the briefing, Ezekiel Emanuel, special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, said he didn’t really understand what Trump was going on about. “I found most of what he said a little incoherent,” said Emanuel, who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration. “He’s a guy who admitted that he’s surprised that 25,000 to 69,000 people each year die of the flu. That just tells you how little he actually knows about public health and about the health of the American public because every doctor knows that... He just revealed how ignorant he is about the situation.” The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected more than 80,000 in a matter of weeks. Ezekiel Emanuel is the brother of former Obama Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as Ari Emanuel, the CEO of Hollywood talent agency Endeavor and a close friend of President Trump’s from his Apprentice days.
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