AP NEWS

Utah accuses Trump of spreading virus ‘misinformation’

March 5, 2020 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A state coronavirus-response team in Utah is calling comments from President Donald Trump “misinformation” and warning people to stay home from work if they show symptoms that match the virus.

In a tweet Thursday, the task force led by Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox posted an audio clip from Trump’s wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity in which he said that many cases of coronavirus are mild. He then added: “thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work, some of them go to work.”

Trump later tweeted that he did not say people feeling sick should go to work.

The task force objected to the suggestion, emphatically warning people to stay home: “Even if you have very mild symptoms, going to work sick could be dangerous to others. Let’s work together to stop the spread of misinformation like what’s in this video.”

Cox, who has been critical of Trump in the past but more recently supported his re-election bid, was not involved in the tweet, his spokeswoman Kirsten Rappleye said. Cox is a candidate in the race to replace outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert.

A spokeswoman for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert re-iterated the message that workers should stay home, but Anna Lehnardt declined to comment on whether the president should repudiate his comments.

No cases of the virus have been detected in Utah, though one resident who caught it on a cruise is being treated in the state. State officials have said they expect it to come eventually and are making preparations.