Trump downplays coronavirus threat, notes ‘common flu’ kills thousands every year

President Trump downplayed the threat of coronavirus on Monday, noting that the “common flu” kills thousands of Americans each year and that “life & the economy go on.”

“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year,” Trump tweeted Monday.

“Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus with 22 deaths. Think about that!” He tweeted.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, during the 2018-2019 flu season, an estimated 35.5 million people were sick with influenza, and approximately 34,200 people died from the illness.

CPAC ATTENDEE WITH CORONAVIRUS CAME IN CONTACT WITH 'SEVERAL' MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

The president’s tweet comes amid the international spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, which has shaken the global economy, and has virtually put the U.S. into a recession.

Meanwhile, the country is grappling with a shortage of testing kits for the virus, amid the increasing number of cases across the U.S.

The coronavirus is believed to have originated at an animal and seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China and has since spread to other countries, including the United States.

The illness is transferable between humans. Most coronaviruses cause mild symptoms, such as the common cold that patients easily recover from. Other strains of the virus -- such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) -- can cause pneumonia and possible death.

CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN

The president’s tweets come amid the news that an attendee of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held outside of Washington, D.C., last week, tested positive for the disease.

Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attended and spoke at CPAC. The White House was made aware and said that there is no indication that the president or vice president were in close proximity to the stricken attendee.

The attendee had contact with “several” members of Congress, according to the physician for the Capitol. Both Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., are among the lawmakers who interacted with the CPAC coronavirus patient, and are self-quarantined. Three senior members of Gosar’s staff are also in self-quarantine out of an “abundance of caution.”