Lack of fed prep for coronavirus alarming

A worker cleans up after traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange after the closing bell following a significant dip in the market in New York. (REUTERS)

New York City didn’t have a single confirmed case — or even a suspected case — of coronavirus as of amNewYork Metro press time Tuesday night. Yet panic set it in one area of New York City: the Financial District.

The Centers for Disease Control announced Tuesday afternoon that it was likely the coronavirus outbreak — which began back in December in China and killed hundreds of people there — would inevitably spread across the United States. Officials said the chances of an “extremely serious outbreak” in our nation were high.

That warning, from a federal government agency, sent the stock market reeling. Fears of coronavirus had fueled a 5.5% drop in the Dow Jones average over two days. 

If the worst case scenario did occur, it’s feared that a coronavirus pandemic — on top of sickening millions and perhaps killing thousands of people — would spark a global economic recession. That’s the least of the concern. 

What’s important is that the federal, state and city governments have every resource available to contain the spread of coronavirus and prevent a pandemic from occurring. 

We know that our city and state are as prepared as they can be; we can’t say the same for the federal government.

New York Senator Charles Schumer rightly took the Trump administration to task Tuesday, saying the regime is woefully behind on coronavirus prep. 

Coronavirus testing kits have to be distributed to hospitals across the country; samples from patients suspected of having it must be sent to the CDC’s facility in Atlanta. That costs precious time that sick patients might not have.

The CDC’s funding itself, Schumer noted, has been slashed by the Trump administration. The agency had to reduce the number of response teams it can send across the world to help investigate and stop the spread of illness.

The Trump administration now wants $2.5 billion in funding from Congress to help combat the coronavirus. But that request comes after the regime sought to slash the CDC budget by 16% just a month ago. 

It might still be premature to panic over the coronavirus in New York City. But the apparently lack of readiness by the federal government to respond to a pandemic is truly panic-inducing.

Every federal resource must be made available to contain coronavirus and stop its spread. The health of our nation, the world and the economy depend upon it.