Romney: A Reckoning by McKay Coppins:
That same month, Romney began following reports out of China about a mysterious new virus. The initial intel was sketchy but unsettling—in Wuhan, hundreds of people had died from some kind of unknown respiratory disease, and thousands more were suffering from symptoms. It appeared to be spreading fast—first to nearby Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, then to the Middle East and even Western Europe. Aside from case counts, little information was being released by from China, but there were whispers of extreme quarantines and lockdown measures.
More alarming still to Romney was the U.S. government’s apparent apathy in response to the threat. Even as public health officials warned that it was only a matter of time before the virus started circulating widely in America, the president was downplaying the prospect of an outbreak. On February 28, Trump, standing behind a podium adorned with the presidential seal, told a crowd of supporters in South Carolina to pay no attention to the growing warnings. The media was “in hysteria mode,” he said; the Democrats were playing politics. This new coronavirus was much less harmful than the seasonal flu—and anyone who said otherwise was just trying to hurt him politically. “This is their new hoax,” the president declared.