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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Vice President Mike Pence, during an interview on Fox News Sunday, stated that China and the World Health Organization (WHO) have failed to effectively communicate about the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is clear to us that not only was there a failure by the World Health Organization to communicate to America and the world what was happening in China, but also that China was not as forthcoming as they should have been with America or the world about what was happening,” Pence told Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. “And the president has made it clear he’s not happy.”
His comments come after President Donald Trump suspended funding to the WHO over their handling of the pandemic. Trump claims that the organization has spread misinformation, did not properly investigate the credibility of China’s coronavirus reports and were too slow to declare the outbreak a public health emergency which cost “valuable time.”
Trump also accused China of lacking transparency, and he warned that China will face consequences “if they were knowingly responsible” for the outbreak.
“It could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “And now the whole world is suffering because of it.”
In the interview, when asked by Wallace what the Trump administration was going to do specifically to “hold China accountable,” Pence responded saying that they were “going to make proper inquiries into this at the proper time.”
Pence then went on to praise Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly over “suspending all travel from China” in late January.
“No American president had ever done that and there’s no question all of our health experts agree that that bought us an invaluable amount of time, it’s enabled us to save lives and make sure health care workers have the resources that they need to meet this moment,” Pence remarked.
Pence also emphasized that the coronavirus task force’s priority is saving as many lives as possible, and it always has been.
“The one mission that this president has given the White House Coronavirus task force is to save lives, to put this coronavirus in the past,” Pence said. “We are going to stay focused on that mission. It’s one mission and one team.”
Continuing, he explained that he wanted “American people to be encouraged” by the good progress they are making, and he pointed out that the United States is starting to see “downward trends in cases and in hospitalizations.”
“We really believe that because of what the American people have done, because of our incredible health care workers, that we are together as a nation hastening the day when we will put the coronavirus in the past and get America working again,” Pence added.
On Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that New York’s infection rate has now slowed, and the hospitalization rate is on the decline as well.
“If the data holds, we are past the high point and all indications at this point are that we are on a descent,” Cuomo said. “Whether or not that descent continues depends on what we do, but right now are on the descent.”
However, Cuomo cautioned that “it is not time to relax.”
“We still have to make sure that we keep that beast under control, we keep that infection rate down, we keep that hospitalization rate down as we all get very eager to get on with life and move on.”
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States is now more than 740,000, and the death toll has risen to over 40,000. New York has reported the most deaths out of all the states.
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