Vice President Mike Pence said the administration will begin giving daily updates on efforts to contain the coronavirus, following media criticism that the administration has not been transparent in its efforts to address the spread of the disease.
“We’ll be back here every day,” Pence said Monday in a briefing at the White House. “Get used to seeing us. We’re going to bring the experts in. We’re going to make sure to give you the best and most high-quality, real-time information from the best people in the world.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, speaking alongside Pence, said the risk to the public is low but, “We all need to prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” Meanwhile, U.S. health officials have confirmed at least 100 cases in 12 states as well as six deaths in Washington state.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine expert Nancy Messonnier said last week that it’s not a matter of if the virus will spread, but when. Disruption to everyday life, she said, may be severe.
Administration officials have come under fire for downplaying the severity of the outbreak since cases began appearing in the United States. Azar, Pence, and CDC Director Robert Redfield have all said that the public is not in immediate danger. President Trump has said the outbreak in the U.S. is under control and added Monday that holding packed campaign rallies despite the public health crisis is “very safe” and that the outbreak is “under control.”