President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE referenced his reputation as a germaphobe during a rare press conference about the coronavirus Wednesday.
He suggested Americans take the same precautions they would during flu season, including avoiding unnecessary contact with public surfaces and people who are ill, as he always has.
“I do it a lot anyway, as you’ve probably heard. Wash your hands. Stay clean. You don’t have to necessarily grab every hand rail unless you have to,” Trump said. “I mean, view this as the same as the flu. When somebody sneezes — I mean, I try to bail out as much as possible with the sneezing.”
The president followed the warning with an anecdote.
“I had a man come up to me a week ago. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and I said, ‘How are you doing?’ He said, ‘Fine. Fine,'” Trump said, recounting the story. “He hugs me. I say, ‘Are you well?’ He says, ‘No.’ He says, ‘I have the worst fever and the worst flu,’ and he’s hugging me, kissing me. So I say excuse me and go wash my hands. You want to treat this as you would the flu.”
At the same press conference, Trump announced Vice President Pence would be leading the coronavirus task force.
He said the administration is “totally prepared” for the pandemic, countering points made by Democrats in past weeks claiming the response thus far was inadequate.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to 60 on Wednesday, including 45 from a single cruise ship abroad.