Ben Carson is being ridiculed online over a viral video of him coughing on his hand just before he addressed the media about the US coronavirus outbreak.
Carson, who is a former neurosurgeon, stunned the Internet with his cough, after which he immediately touched the podium during a Saturday press conference. Many pointed out that the ex-doctor did what any health professional would advise against, given there’s a viral disease that currently has the entire globe at its knees.
Vice President Mike Pence held the presser Saturday afternoon to brief the public on the work being done by the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force in response to the pandemic. When Pence introduced Carson, who is the current secretary of housing and urban development, he was sure to add “and doctor” in his introduction.
But when Carson approached the podium he did what any sensible doctor would know not to do.
And Ben Carson is a brain surgeon. pic.twitter.com/na4pzLAPan
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) March 14, 2020
Many Twitter users couldn’t help but point out the irony that Dr. Carson would cough in his hand, when physicians very clearly advise people to either cough into a tissue or into their elbow.
As Dr. Vincent Hill of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once told the New York Times: “If somebody sneezes into their hands, that creates an opportunity for those germs to be passed on to other people, or contaminate other objects that people touch.”
“Neurosurgeon [Dr. Ben Carson] leading by example – coughing directly into his hand & immediately touching the podium,” wrote Twitter user Molly Conger.
“Oh. My. God. Ben Carson– THIS is your wheelhouse. Please talk about the science of all this. You did NOT make us feel better. Let ME worry about my prayers,” tweeted author and political commentator Tiffany Cross.
Meena Harris, attorney and niece of Sen. Kamala Harris, similarly wrote: “Ben Carson showing us HOW NOT TO COUGH IN PUBLIC.”
Carson’s coughing faux pas quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, mostly driven by tweets of ridicule from critics who used Carson as an example of the Trump’s administration’s inability to effectively lead Americans during the nation’s current public health crisis.
On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president’s move could free up to $ 50 billion to help fight against the viral disease, NBC News reports. Trump also empowered the secretary of Health and Human Services to waive certain laws and regulations to contain the virus and ensure that patients are treated.
“To unleash the full power of the federal government … I am officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump declared. “Two very big words.”
In addition to opening up access to billions of dollars, Trump’s executive move would more easily allow local health facilities to extend hospital stays and add more beds. “Drive-thru” virus tests would also be implemented.