President Donald Trump will address the nation on Wednesday night in a televised speech about the coronavirus. The president has been criticized for not taking the outbreak seriously enough, but after the World Health Organization deemed it a "pandemic," he announced a national address. He made several tweets about the coronavirus as well.
"I will be addressing the Nation this evening at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern) from the Oval Office," President Trump tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
According to a report by NBC News, a White House reporter asked President Trump what he would "say to Americans who are concerned that you're not taking this seriously enough and that some of your statements don't match what your health experts are saying." The president reportedly responded: "That's CNN. Fake news."
I will be addressing the Nation this evening at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern) from the Oval Office.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2020
In an earlier tweet, President Trump wrote that he was "fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with" the coronavirus outbreak. He has repeatedly urged the American public to remain calm, but has given some contradictory or even false information about the virus. For example, he said in a recent press conference that the number of Coronavirus cases in the U.S. was "going very substantially down, not up," but according to a report by CNN he had been told just the opposite in a briefing hours beforehand.
On Wednesday, The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a statement declaring the Coronavirus a pandemic, saying that the WHO is "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction."
"Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death," Ghebreyesus went on. "Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by this #coronavirus. It doesn't change what WHO is doing, and it doesn't change what countries should do."
As dire as the new developments seemed, Ghebreyesus did instill a few positive, actionable notes in his statement, writing: "We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic."
It is not clear whether the president's televised address will match this tone, or whether he will announce new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The speech is scheduled for Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET.