US intelligence agencies raised alarm about coronavirus in classified briefing material prepared for President Donald Trump with increasing frequency over January and February 2020, a period that is seen as a squandered opportunity to aggressively prepare the country for the epidemic.
The warnings came in more than a dozen of briefing papers called the President Daily Brief, the Washington Post reported Monday, adding to a growing body of news accounts and reports of the botched and delayed response of the Trump administration to the epidemic.
The first mention of the virus in the PBD came in early January 2020.
The first major action taken by the Trump administration to fight the outbreak came in late-January with a ban on travelers from China, except US citizens. But the administration did do much for all of February 2020, a period of squandered opportunity to beef up essential medical supplies, protective equipment and begin social-distancing and other mitigation efforts.
The president continued to play down the gravity of the crisis. ‘It’s like a miracle, it will disappear,’ he said February 26. ‘Just stay calm. It will go away,’ he said on March 10, the day before the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic, as the Post report noted as an instance of the president’s failure to grasp the seriousness of the situation.
Coronavirus has effected more than 3.1m people in 212 countries as on date. US being the worst hit where more that 1m people are effected by Coronavirus while more that 59000 are dead.
The president has insisted, however, that there was no delay in his response to the crisis and has cited the January 2020 travel ban as the highlight of his administration’s response.