Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies say that they have been predicting a global pandemic for years, but have been keeping recent analysis quiet out of fear of upsetting Donald Trump. As NBC News reports, analysis has suggested that an outbreak like that of coronavirus has been increasingly likely, disrupting business and harming the economy.
“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” an early 2019 report said.
Officials have held back from releasing their risk assessment for this year because “they are reluctant to discuss intelligence that might displease President Donald Trump,” NBC News writes.
This means that Congress isn’t able to get public testimony from intelligence officials about the threat of the coronavirus and its impact on the economy and national security.
Trump’s administration has painted the coronavirus to be less of a threat than the CDC has indicated. On Wednesday, the president claimed that the risk to people in the U.S. was “low.”
He added that the possibility that the virus will continue to spread isn’t a given, though the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said otherwise, stating that it isn’t a matter of if the disease will spread, but “more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”
The president has also claimed that the disease will likely fade away as the weather warms up, though there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that this is the case.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Trump has blamed the media for attempting to make the coronavirus look worse than it is in an attempt to harm his reputation with the American people. He tweeted that he believes he deserves more credit for the work he has done.
Critics say that the president hasn’t done enough to address the outbreak and say that the U.S. is underprepared for a pandemic. While Trump has banned flights from some areas where the virus is spreading, Democrats argue that the president’s budget, which slashes funding for departments charged with dealing with epidemics of this nature, serves to undermine any attempts to control the virus’ spread.