Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Newsmax TV the U.S. is lucky President Donald Trump did not listen to advice from the World Health Organization in crafting his response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The WHO has walked back several statements on the coronavirus including its stance on wearing face masks and how the virus spreads.
"Fortunately for the United States, President Trump didn't listen to them," Azar told Newsmax TV’s Emerald Robinson during an exclusive interview that aired on Thursday's "American Agenda."
"This novel coronavirus is truly unprecedented, but President Trump has led an unprecedented, historic response to it that has given us the tools to get ourselves back to work, back to school and back to healthcare."
Azar blasted WHO for its previous statements on the virus.
"Jan. 14, the WHO said there is no human-to-human transmission. They continued to say there is no asymptomatic transmission. They said you shouldn't wear masks. They said you shouldn't have travel restrictions," Azar said.
He praised Trump for imposing "historic travel restrictions" and for encouraging people to wear masks if they cannot socially distance.
"We determined that there was human-to-human transmission," Azar said. "We determined that asymptomatic transmission could be a driver. So, we went our own way in spite of the WHO and what they have been doing with China."
Azar lauded the president's response to the outbreak and how Trump is handling the reopening of the economy. He referenced the "historic levels of job growth" that were announced last week.
"We are seeing the economy starting to tick back up again," he said. "Seventy three percent of our small businesses are back up and running from a low of about 50%. We need to get our schools, our work places back up and running. We can do it safely."
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