Pence Dodges Questions, Repeats Trump, Amid COVID-19 ‘Pandemic’ Designation

Pence Dodges Questions, Repeats Trump, Amid COVID-19 ‘Pandemic’ Designation


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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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The number of U.S. COVID-19 cases has grown rapidly: there are now more than 1,000 people infected and at least 37 deaths. The virus has spread to more than 40 states, with many of the cases in Washington State. The World Health Organization recently declared coronavirus a pandemic, and that the death rate of reported cases is around 3.4 percent, making it more deadly than seasonal flu.

Worldwide, there are approximately 118,000 cases and 4,300 deaths so far.

President Donald Trump Wednesday announced that he was imposing a 30-day travel ban on the 26 European countries that are part of the Schengen Area, starting on Friday at midnight. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The ban excludes countries outside the Schengen zone, such as the U.K. and Ireland.

The restriction will apply to most foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area within 14 days prior to traveling to the United States. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “[it] does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”

In Italy alone, there are more than 15,000 cases and around 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” Trump said.

“I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who is currently in charge of handling the COVID-19 outbreak, discussed the coronavirus crisis and the recent travel ban Thursday on the Fox News program Fox and Friends, with hosts Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade.

During the segment, Pence emphasized that although the majority who contract the virus will fully recover, it is important for all people to take precautions to protect those vulnerable to the virus, such as washing your hands attentively.

“For any American that’s watching today that has a family member, a loved one who is a senior citizen with a serious underlying health condition, this is a very good time to help and to support them to be able to avoid public places, and everyone around them to engage in good hygiene and good practices to protect those that are most vulnerable,” Pence remarked.

Pence also noted that they will continue to give strict recommendations to areas where community spread has occurred.

We want everybody to practice good common sense. But in those communities where we have community spread, we will continue to give very aggressive recommendations, as we have in California and Washington and New York,” Pence told the hosts, “and we’ll respect the decisions of any business, any sports enterprise that decides to cancel events to put the health of the country first.”

When asked by Earhardt if there were enough tests, Pence made clear that they were working hard to produce more test kits and make more available.

“We are working every single day to clear out any red tape to make tests more and more available. Right now every state lab in America can conduct testing,” Pence said, adding, “One of the things we did that’s most important on testing was the president brought in the leaders of the top commercial laboratories in the country who, as we speak, have already approved a test that is being spun up, it’s being sent out to Market, Quest, LabCorp, the largest commercial laboratories in the country are working very closely with our administration. We’re clearing the red tape out of the way. That’s going to be the way, that in the days ahead we are going to have broad-based testing available all across the country.”

Finally, addressing the recent travel ban, Pence explained that the president made this decision due to the drastically increasing number of cases within Europe.

“The president recognized that the epicenter of coronavirus has shifted from China and South Korea to Europe and that is why he took the unprecedented step,” Pence remarked, “same thing he did with China, to suspend all travel for thirty days from Europe, it’s about preventing the additional flow of the infection from Europe into our country.”

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