• Mulvaney spoke before the Conservative Political Action Conference
  • Mulvaney says the media was too wrapped up in impeachment coverage to pay any attention to coronavirus before this
  • Rush Limbaugh this week accused the media of trying to weaponize the coronavirus against Trump

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday accused the media of stoking coronavirus fears to bring President Trump down.

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference charged the only reason coverage has been so intense in recent days is because before that, the media was too engrossed in covering Trump’s impeachment to pay any attention.

“Why didn’t you hear about it?” Mulvaney asked, noting he was part of a congressional briefing on the outbreak six weeks ago. “The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring the president down.”

Mulvaney also accused the media of stoking panic.

Wall Street panicked this week over the growing outbreak, which now affects at least 46 countries and has caused more than 2,800 deaths. More than 82,000 people have been sickened. More than $1 trillion in equity has been wiped out.

Mulvaney’s remarks echoed his boss’s position. Trump this week attempted to downplay the severity of the outbreak and tried to assure Americans that even if COVID-19 starts spreading rapidly within U.S. borders, the disease itself isn’t much worse than the flu, despite the fact the mortality rate appears to be at least 20 times higher, 0.1% for the flu versus 2% to 3% for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, talk show host Rush Limbaugh told his audience the media was trying to weaponize the outbreak to bring Trump down.

Mulvaney acknowledged some schools may be forced to shut down and public transportation might be affected but, “We know how to handle this.”

He said nervous traders should just “turn the television off for 24 hours” to calm their nerves.

Public health officials have warned the virus’ spread is inevitable – a position with which Trump disagrees.

There are at least 60 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., most of the cases comprising individuals brought home from China, the epicenter of the outbreak, or who were aboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan for two weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed one case this week in Northern California that could represent the first community transmission of COVID-19 since the individual was not believed to have had contact with any travelers from affected areas.

The World Health Organization added nine new countries to the list of those affected Thursday, including the first reported case in Mexico. WHO Friday upgraded the threat of global spread of the disease to very high.