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Barack Obama urges Americans to stay calm and take common-sense precautions against coronavirus

The former President advised citizens to "stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science," in his tweet on Wednesday.

Barack Obama urges Americans to stay calm and take common-sense precautions against coronavirus
Cover Image Source: Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As US state governments continue to closely monitor for coronavirus cases in the country, former President Barack Obama is urging Americans to stay calm. Taking to Twitter with his message, the 58-year-old also advised citizens to adopt common-sense safety precautions to protect themselves and their communities from the virus. As of Wednesday evening, there were at least 158 known cases of novel coronavirus in the nation and while this number is expected to rise with more tests, according to CNN, officials insist that there is no need to panic. "The risk to the American people of the coronavirus remains low, according to all of the experts that we are working with across the government," Vice President Mike Pence reassured in a news conference on Tuesday.


Protect yourself and your community from coronavirus with common-sense precautions: wash your hands, stay home when sick and listen to the @CDCgov and local health authorities. Save the masks for health care workers. Let’s stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science, Obama tweeted on Wednesday. Netizens couldn't help but point out the glaring differences between how the former President and his successor addressed the epidemic, with many thanking Obama for promoting necessary medical information in this time of need. Thank you, President Obama, for promoting accurate scientific and medical information surrounding the coronavirus as opposed to the fear-mongering and misinformation so rampant on social and mainstream media, tweeted Eugene Gu.






On the other hand, the Trump administration has only been adding to the confusion and mass hysteria in the country with a botched rollout of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing and ambiguity over how quickly the US could ramp up testing for roughly one million people. On Wednesday, President Trump adopted his usual tactic of blaming his predecessor for the delay in new diagnostic testing, claiming that a federal agency decision during Obama's presidency made it harder to quickly roll out testing for the virus.


"The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place at a much more accurate and rapid fashion," Trump told reporters before proceeding to toot his own horn for supposedly righting the alleged wrong. According to the New York Post, the 73-year-old added, "That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason, it was made. But we’ve undone that decision."


"That was a very big move. It was something we had to do and we did it very quickly. And now we have tremendous flexibility, many many more sites, many many more people, and you couldn’t have had that under the Obama rule and we ended that rule very quickly," Trump claimed during a meeting with airline executives. While spokespeople for the White House and Vice President Mike Pence were unable to provide additional information on the supposed Obama administration regulation that's to blame for everything, Pence and Robert Redfield—director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—concurred with the President during the meeting.


"The last administration asserted FDA jurisdiction over testing and the development of tests like this. The president changed that on Saturday... states now have the ability to actually conduct the coronavirus test in state labs, university laboratories, and that’s because of the change the president authorized," said Pence. Meanwhile, Redfield stated: "In the past, we used to be able to have laboratories that could develop what we call laboratory-developed tests and then be able to apply them for clinical purposes. And in the previous administration that became regulated, so that now for someone to do that, they had to formally file with the FDA. And what the president’s decision did was allow that regulatory relief now and those university labs and those other labs in the country now can be fully engaged in developing laboratory diagnostics for the clinical arena."


However, Taylor Haulsee—an aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee—stated that the Obama administration made no such rule change. According to CNN, Peter Kyriacopolous, chief policy officer at the Association of Public Health Laboratories agreed with Haulsee's assessment, saying, "We aren't sure what rule is being referenced." He added that "there was an intense interest from FDA to pursue regulation of lab-developed tests during the Obama administration, but it never occurred. FDA did a lot of work on this, but there never was a final rule that came out of all that work."


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