Donald Trump Says Coronavirus Outbreak Has ‘Positive Impact,’ Blames Testing Delays On Obama Administration

In a confusing series of statements Wednesday, Donald Trump appeared to say that the coronavirus outbreak was a good thing for the country.

Donald Trump speaks to the media.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

In a confusing series of statements Wednesday, Donald Trump appeared to say that the coronavirus outbreak was a good thing for the country.

In an exchange with reporters at the White House on Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump said that — at least in some respects — the coronavirus outbreak has had some unexpected positive outcomes for the United States. As quoted via Twitter by The American Independent, Trump said that the outbreak, which has so far claimed the lives of nine Americans, has “probably” had a “positive impact” because people are staying inside U.S. borders and “shopping and using our hotels in this country.”

Officials in the United States have confirmed at least 100 cases of coronavirus infections, including the nine fatalities. In Iran, 92 people have died from the disease, and 79 have perished in Italy.

On Wednesday in China, where the virus appears to have originated, 38 more victims succumbed to the illness. However, according to a Washington Post report, that number actually represented a decline in the daily death toll.

Approximately 95 percent of all coronavirus deaths worldwide have occurred inside China, as 3,221 lives have been lost to the illness in total, according to the American Independent Twitter post. The World Health Organization said that approximately 3.4 percent of those diagnosed with the illness — which is technically named COVID-19 — have died as a result, according to the Washington Post report.

In the United States, the state of New York announced four new cases of the virus on Wednesday. In California, Los Angeles County declared a medical state of emergency after six coronavirus cases were diagnosed this week.

Barack Obama smiles.
Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that his predecessor, Barack Obama (pictured), was responsible for coronavirus testing failures. Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

In the United States, an accurate count of actual coronavirus cases has so far been difficult to ascertain because testing for the virus was “badly bungled,” according to a report in a leading scientific journal. As of Sunday, fewer than 4,000 people in the U.S. had been tested.

By comparison, South Korea had tested 65,000 people as of the same date.

During his Wednesday exchange with reporters, however, Trump placed the blame for delays in testing on his predecessor in the White House, former President Barack Obama.

“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing,” Trump said, as quoted via Twitter by Vox reporter Aaron Rupar. Trump then went on to claim that “we undid that decision a few days ago,” which will allow testing to go forward in more “rapid and accurate” fashion.

It was unclear as to what Obama administration decision Trump was referring, but Vice President Mike Pence said that Obama had placed the Food and Drug Administration in an oversight position when it comes to development of disease testing. Trump reversed that decision “on Saturday,” Pence said.