Experts warn of growing coronavirus threat as Trump administration downplays concerns

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Financial experts warn of a potential recession and some patients previously treated for the COVID-19 disease are still testing positive after being released from quarantine.

The coronavirus outbreak that first began in Wuhan, China, may wreak more havoc on the globe than initially predicted.

Financial experts are warning about a potential recession, both in the United States and around the world, due to the concerning spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.

On Wednesday, Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve, said that the U.S. economic outlook "looks pretty good," but warned that a sustained outbreak could "veer the U.S. toward a recession."

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Goldman Sachs took a more concerned tone, predicting on Thursday that a more severe outbreak "could lead to a more prolonged disruption and a U.S. recession."

Bank of America stopped short of predicting a recession but warned that the spread of COVID-19 could cause a global economic slowdown, CNBC reported on Thursday. Bank of America also said that Donald Trump's trade war with China is causing "spillover effects" which could continue to hurt the U.S. and global economy.

Amid those warnings, the Trump administration is facing another crisis of its own making.

According to a whistleblower complaint filed earlier this month and obtained Thursday by the Washington Post and New York Times, administration officials allegedly bungled the initial response to the virus, allowing federal workers tasked with tending to possible coronavirus patients to do so without proper protective gear or medical training.

The complaint alleged that federal workers then interacted with the general population without realizing they may have been exposed to the disease.

The whistleblower, a senior Health and Human Services official, was reassigned after informing the administration of those problems. According to the Post, she was given 15 days, starting from Feb. 19, to accept her new position or face termination.

Elsewhere, Reuters also reported on Friday that some patients who had been treated and quarantined for the disease, and were subsequently discharged from the hospital, later tested positive for the virus. Those cases, discovered in China, could make the outbreak more difficult to contain if other patients around the world experience reinfection as well.

Meanwhile, officials in the Trump White House seem to be treating the outbreak as a public relations issue, with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney blaming the media for covering the COVID-19 outbreak.

"They think this will bring down the president," Mulvaney said at the Friday morning session of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

"That's what this is all about," He added, without offering any evidence to support his assertion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which releases regular, updated information on the COVID-19 outbreak, reported that symptoms of the disease typically appear between 2 and 14 days of exposure, and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

There is no vaccine, and the CDC recommends avoiding close contact with those who are sick, regular handwashing, and staying at home if you are ill to prevent infection.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.