Azar Apologizes For Coronavirus Report Error: ‘It’s A Very Fast Moving Situation’

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies before the House Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on The FY2021 HHS Budget and Oversight of the Coron... UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies before the House Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on The FY2021 HHS Budget and Oversight of the Coronavirus Outbreak" on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
March 1, 2020 12:37 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar found himself fielding questions Sunday morning regarding President Trump’s rhetoric on coronavirus a day after the first fatality in the U.S. was confirmed.

CBS’ Margaret Brennan took Azar to task when asking how Trump erroneously referred to the first coronavirus fatality in Washington state as a woman, adding that such a mistake affects public trust.

Azar replied that “it’s a very fast moving situation” and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were to blame for Trump’s mishap.

“Our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were up late at night, very early in the morning, working with the Washington state public health office and inaccurately recorded that the individual was a female — that’s what the President was briefed on,” Azar said. “They’ve apologized for incorrectly briefing on that. But it’s a very fast moving situation. Obviously, we regret the error.”

When asked about his projections on how many Americans he expects to come down with the virus, Azar insisted that “the risk to average Americans remains low.”

TPM reached out to the CDC for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

Watch Azar’s remarks on CBS below:

Azar continued to defend Trump’s words Sunday morning on ABC News.

When asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopolous about Trump’s claim that Democrats are creating a “new hoax” with the coronavirus, Azar responded that “he’s talking about the partisan sniping that we’re seeing.”

“It’s unnecessary. We don’t need to have this made a political issue. We’re in a public health crisis here. We need to all be banding together,” Azar said. “And, you know, we’re working on this emergency supplemental bill in Congress. And we’re getting bipartisan support on that. I’ve got a lot of hope that we can get things back to us all working together on this.”

Azar added his talking point that “the risk to any individual American is low” despite how “we’re going to see more cases.”

Watch Azar’s remarks on ABC News below:

Azar also appeared on Fox News Sunday morning, saying that both he and Trump are “trying to keep good balance” on messaging regarding the coronavirus “so that the American people don’t engage in unwarranted panic.”

Watch Azar’s remarks on Fox News below:

Comments
advertisement
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: