Appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Siegel said President Trump was right when he said the United States must continue to be “vigilant” about containing the health threat, but the risk to the public remains low.
“Because right now there is nobody that has died in the United States of this,” Siegel said..
There have been over 83,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, with some 78,000 of those cases in mainland China. The U.S. now has 62 cases with two new presumptive cases reported late Friday in Washington state. There have been over 2,800 deaths globally.
“But you know what? As the CDC traces them they are probably going to figure out where they did get it from. What we are worried about is sustained spread in communities. We are not there yet.”
During a week-long visit to a quarantine center in Nebraska, Siegel said he saw “heroes” working on the front lines of the health crisis and patients who are “all getting better.”
Siegel told the “Fox & Friends” hosts he thought the expertise from doctors like those at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are sending the “right message that the U.S. public health officials are on top of this.”
“The one area we need to work on is to get the test kits available all around the country and major medical centers so that if I have someone with a cough with shortness of breath, with…high fever, I can test them and reassure them: ‘You don’t have this coronavirus.”
Siegel said he hoped that would happen in the next couple of weeks, but he accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of trying to politicize the crisis by seeking more than three times the administration’s requested $2.5 billion in emergency funding.
“That’s a lot of money when you only have isolated cases here,” Siegel said. “What I’m really trying to say is our public health officials have the money they need right now to do the work they need to do. That’s what matters.
“There is no role for politics, and it is shameful the way Sen. Schumer and others are acting,” he said.