Coronavirus pandemic: A team of economists in the Donald Trump administration had warned the White House in September 2019 itself about the looming dangers of an impending flu-like pandemic.
Could US President Donald Trump have known about an impending coronavirus pandemic as early as September 2019? A top economist who worked with the White House says, yes.
In September 2019, as the world lived on, unsuspecting of the novel coronavirus, a team of top economists in the Donald Trump administration had warned the US president about the looming dangers of a pandemic outbreak. The team had reportedly alerted the White House about an oncoming pandemic and presented a 41-page report, but the advice was not heeded to.
Todas Philipson, an economist who served for three years as the acting chairperson of the Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), made this sensational revelation to CNN on Friday.
According to CNN, Philipson said his team “alerted the White House about the dangers of a looming flu-like pandemic outbreak about three months before Covid-19 is believed to have made its way into the United States”.
Philipson said the report had “warned a pandemic disease could kill as many as half a million Americans and cause up to $3.79 trillion in damage to the US economy”.
Philipson stepped down from his post in June this year and returned to his teaching role at the University of Chicago. He had reportedly tested positive for Covid-19 a month before his departure from the White House.
Speaking to CNN on Friday, Todas Philipson said he was one of the co-authors that published a report titled ‘Mitigating the impact of pandemic influenza through vaccine innovation’.
This revelation from one of President Trump’s key economists is important because the US President so far has insisted that it was not possible to foresee or prevent the coronavirus pandemic.
Contrary to the President’s claim, the 41-page report prepared by Philipson’s team was presented to senior White House officials in September 2019 itself, while the first few cases of novel coronavirus were detected in Wuhan, China in mid-December and the World Health Organisation was informed about the viral infection in December end.
Speaking to CNN, Philipson acknowledged that this report was presented to President Trump or his top White House officials. “The White House is fully aware of what CEA puts out,” he was quoted as saying by CNN.
Meanwhile, as per the latest WHO data, the US today has the highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Cities after cities and states after states have suffered massive loss of life and income due to the coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdown in the US.
As of July 18, the total number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in the US had reached 35,44,143. Of these, 1,37,674 have died so far.