As the Coronavirus sweeps across the global landscape, media coverage swells and strengthens at an equally alarming speed.
Career epidemiologists and public health experts have rarely enjoyed so much air time, appearing on TV News broadcasts to offer fact-based warnings and guidelines.
But among those sober experts is the Trump administration's coronavirus A-Team, the chosen front line to coordinate a response and ease public tensions. Simply put, it's been a rocky start for the crew.
The United States now faces a total of 564 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 and 22 deaths. As both those figures continue to rise, the nation has spent the last week demanding a clear and coordinated response from the Executive Branch.
Thus far, this has taken the form of daily press briefings from Vice President Mike Pence and characteristically knee-jerk comments from President Donald Trump. Often, both statements directly contradict one another, and confusion has abounded as a result.
Yet another head-scratching moment came when a new Trump-appointed voice offered vague assurance that there is little to worry about. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" to take questions from Jake Tapper, the program's host.
During the interview, Adams did not hesitate to throw himself under the bus as he assured the nation Trump's health was immaculate and nothing to worry about.
It was a moment of strange irony—it's not often the surgeon general boasts about his own poor health:
"Speaking of being at risk...The president, he sleeps less than I do and he's healthier than what I am."
Here's Surgeon General Jerome Adams telling Jake Tapper that President Trump "sleeps less than I do and he's health… https://t.co/g0eP6esIFZ— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1583680053.0
With his response, the Surgeon General was clearly aiming to quell fears that 73-year-old Donald Trump is situated right in the "older adult' range, placing him at the highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19, according to an array of health experts including the CDC.
As the clip made its way to the interwebs, the Surgeon General's assurance fell on the skeptical ears and shrewd mouths of Twitter.
@atrupar Surgeon General Jerome Adams (who I never heard of until today) is yet another sycophant hack serving in t… https://t.co/IZsetr50Gp— Russell Drew (@Russell Drew)1583693117.0
@atrupar This grotesque sycophancy should not be normalized. Why are we allowing it?? https://t.co/AACd33FZcI— s rhyming 🍑 (@s rhyming 🍑)1583680175.0
@atrupar @82_and_0 https://t.co/3bzYGjVABU— STELLA (@STELLA)1583680626.0
@atrupar How the hell do they keep a straight face? #VoteBlueNoMatterWho https://t.co/b5pWkZfW2D— Karen S Barnes🌊🌈🗽🇺🇸🆘️ (@Karen S Barnes🌊🌈🗽🇺🇸🆘️)1583684975.0
Many had some of their own, biting diagnoses about Adams' reference to Trump's ability to burn the candle at both ends.
Twitter's conclusions could identify no healthy approach to the President's minimal sleep.
@atrupar That's COCAINE! 👇👇HEALTHY? 😅🤣😅😂🤣😅 https://t.co/gFpbBeK3tv— RexPublic (@RexPublic)1583680751.0
@atrupar @realDonaldTrump It's hard to sleep more than three hours when your Bedtime Snack is 10 Big Macs sprinkled with Crushed Adderall.— Trumpy Trumpy (parody) (@Trumpy Trumpy (parody))1583757507.0
@atrupar Adams is 45 years old and looks healthy Trump is 73, overweight, supposedly doesn’t sleep and everyone can… https://t.co/IdcPZYEkWi— Denise Haynes🗽🇺🇸🐘🦒🐋🌊 (@Denise Haynes🗽🇺🇸🐘🦒🐋🌊)1583681731.0
@atrupar Adderall disrupts sleep. I do feel sorry for that doctor...reducing all that education and expertise to… https://t.co/bKubq1essX— Virginia True Blue Resister (@Virginia True Blue Resister)1583689344.0
President Donald Trump himself, however, felt the interview went well.
He retweeted the clip, drawing a whole new layer of confusion.
@atrupar @realDonaldTrump Trump’s RT proves he doesn’t get that he’s the joke. No one believes the Surgeon General.… https://t.co/utcuQsbYmk— Chris 🗳 #Turnout to end this nightmare! (@Chris 🗳 #Turnout to end this nightmare!)1583757803.0
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. and the entire world, the media landscape will grow chaotic and full of assurances, advice, and hysteria in turn. It becomes clearer and clearer that people will trust some sources more than others.