President Donald Trump at a news conference in New Delhi on February 25.
President Donald Trump at a news conference in New Delhi on February 25. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Jarring contradictions in the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus are casting doubt on its capacity to tackle an outbreak.

While President Donald Trump is reassuring the nation that the virus is “going to go away” and is “very well under control,” government experts are painting a far more dire picture.

Warnings from experts: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the coronavirus was not recognized to be spreading inside the United States. But a top CDC expert warned the virus could bring severe disruption to American life, and told people to get ready now.

The mayor of San Francisco declared a state of emergency to prepare for the possible arrival of the virus.

And some questioned the government’s capacity to monitor outbreaks after it emerged that only 12 state and local health laboratories can test for the novel coronavirus.

Cases in the US: To date, there are 57 recorded cases of coronavirus in the United States, including 40 passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, three people who were brought home from China and 14 other patients.

So far, Trump’s political interests appear to have led the President to seek to minimize the threat from the virus and the chances of it evolving into an epidemic on American soil.

But fast-moving developments mean that Trump looks behind the curve of the growing threat to the United States — a dangerous position for a President who is seeking a second term. Democrats, apparently looking for vulnerabilities, are warning that his administration is asleep as a possible pandemic builds.

Read the full analysis here.

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