Bloomberg ad slams Trump's handling of coronavirus outbreak

Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign released an ad on Wednesday highlighting the former New York City mayor’s crisis management skills amid concerns about the growing threat of the coronavirus in the United States.

In the ad, aptly entitled “Pandemic,” Bloomberg slams President Trump’s handling of the global health crisis, while highlighting his own record as mayor in handling health and terror crises.

“Managing a crisis is what Mike Bloomberg does,” the ad states. “In the aftermath of 9/11, he steadied and rebuilt America’s largest city, oversaw emergency response to natural disasters, upgraded hospital preparedness to manage health crises, and he’s funding cutting edge research to contain epidemics.”

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The ad mentions Bloomberg’s handling of bioterrorism threats against New York City, the swine flu outbreak in 2009, and the West Nile virus in 2012, while bashing Trump for his statements suggesting the coronavirus outbreak will be over by April and that warm weather will halt the spread of the virus.

“Trump is putting American lives at risk every day, ignoring science, claiming the virus will ‘miraculously’ disappear by April and relying on ‘warm weather’ to end the spread of the virus,” Bloomberg’s campaign said in a press release. “It is clearer than ever that the country needs a leader with real experience managing a crisis.”

Speaking on Tuesday from New Delhi, India, Trump said, “we have very few people with it." A “lot of talent” and a “lot of brainpower” is being tapped for the coronavirus response, he added.

He said the situation is "very well under control in our country.”

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who leads work on respiratory diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, has said that “it’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen – and how many people in this country will have severe illness."

The CDC on Tuesday warned the American public to prepare for an outbreak of the disease, which has spawned more than 80,000 cases around the world but relatively few so far in the U.S.

The count includes 14 people who traveled back from outbreak areas in China, or their spouses; three people who were evacuated from the central China city of Wuhan; and 42 Americans, passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who were evacuated by the federal government to the U.S. from where the ship was docked in Japan.

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Two new coronavirus cases have been reported in Americans who had traveled on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, health officials said Wednesday. The new cases bring the U.S. tally to 59.

The administration has asked Congress for an additional $2.5 billion to speed development of a vaccine, support preparedness and response activities, and to gather needed equipment and supplies.

On Capitol Hill, senior lawmakers called for a bipartisan spending package that would give federal, state and local officials more resources. Congress in recent years took a similar approach with the opioid epidemic, pumping out federal dollars for treatment and prevention. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York unveiled an $8.5 billion coronavirus proposal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.