Top GOP Senator Warned Insiders Weeks Ago: Don’t Travel, This Could Be “Akin To The 1918 Pandemic”

NPR reports:

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee warned a small group of well-connected constituents three weeks ago to prepare for dire economic and societal effects of the coronavirus, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR.

The remarks from U.S. Sen. Richard Burr were more stark than any he had delivered in more public forums. On Feb. 27, when the United States had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Trump was tamping down fears and suggesting the virus could be seasonal.

“It’s going to disappear. One day, It’s like a miracle. It will disappear,” the president said then, before adding, “it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens.”

The Raleigh News & Observer reports:

Burr told a small group that the coronavirus was “akin to the 1918 pandemic” and warned them to rethink European travel for themselves or their businesses.

“There’s one thing I can tell you about this. It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It’s probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic,” Burr said on the audio.

Burr wrote the legislation on how the U.S. is to handle pandemics. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, signed into law in 2019, is an update of previous legislation from Burr, which became law in 2006 and was reauthorized in 2013.