Journalist Lisa Ling claimed Friday that the United States had “months to prepare” for the coronavirus pandemic — but the World Health Organization was still claiming it wasn’t contagious just 72 days ago.
Ling was very critical of President Donald Trump when she made a remote appearance on ABC’s “The View,” suggesting that he should have acted sooner than he did.
Host Whoopi Goldberg, who has been hosting the show via satellite, kicked off the segment by noting that Americans hadn’t really been warned in January even though it appeared that some officials were aware of the imminent threat.
“You know, the United States has been aware of this virus since January. As a matter of fact, they’re sort of scooping up all these people who decided to dump all of their stock because they were aware that this was coming,” Goldberg began. “So there’s enough blame to go around. To blame China, yes, but also, our own — as you said, our own government didn’t look out for us, and once they knew, we didn’t hear anything about this in January. I don’t remember anyone mentioning this. Am I wrong in saying this?”
“Well, certainly the press was mentioning it. I mean, it was being widely reported,” Ling replied. “It was on the front page of every newspaper, yet we had a president that was in denial about it.”
What Ling failed to mention was that even in mid-January, the WHO was still repeating China’s claims that the novel coronavirus was not transmissible from person to person. (RELATED: FLASHBACK Jan. 14: WHO Tells Everyone Don’t Worry Because China Says Coronavirus Isn’t Contagious)
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China????????. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
The president created a task force dedicated to studying and combatting a potential coronavirus pandemic just days later on January 30.
As recently as late February and early March, New York City officials — including Mayor Bill de Blasio — were advising New Yorkers that the risk to citizens was low.
Ling concluded the interview by repeating her claim that the U.S. had squandered months of valuable preparation time. “You saw in Italy 14 to 17 doctors have died in this crisis. We have already had health care workers die in this country,” she said. “This can’t go on, and again, I don’t want to lay blame, and I don’t want this to be a Trump bashing fest, but we had months to prepare for this. We could have at least made sure that our hospitals were stockpiled with their own weapons.”