Donald Trump savaged over 'strange' coronavirus joke

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US President Donald Trump has been criticised for a “strange” joke about coronavirus.

The president was meeting with CEOs of major airlines at the White House on Tuesday.

Mr Trump said airlines would be affected by the fall in international travel related to the virus.

Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator, also spoke about the importance of practising good hygiene.

"Well, we are always saying: the common sense of washing your hands, not touching your face, ensuring that if you've touched anything you go and wash your hands again. Twenty seconds with soap. Hand sanitisers also work,” Dr Birx said.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with airline executives at the White House in Washington.
US President Donald Trump talks with airline execs about coronavirus. Source: Getty Images

The president then joked he hadn’t been touching his face.

“I haven’t touched my face in weeks,” Mr Trump said.

“I miss it.”

While people in the White House laughed at his joke others weren’t amused.

“So strange,” one woman tweeted.

One man joked “it’s a tragedy” the US President has been unable to touch his face.

“It really tears me up that a man of his magnitude and integrity should be unable to touch himself in that way,” he tweeted.

“The world is a cruel place.”

Another man called Mr Trump “a moron”.

“Yes Trump, please keep 'not touching' your face,” another woman tweeted.

US death toll climbs to 11

Two more people died of the new coronavirus in the United States, bringing the toll to 11, and the two most populous cities, New York and Los Angeles, reported new cases on Wednesday.

The first California death from the virus was announced by health officials as an elderly adult with underlying health conditions. It was the first coronavirus fatality in the United States outside of Washington state, where 10 have died.

Larry Bowles, an equipment service worker for King County Metro, sprays Virex II 256, a disinfectant, throughout a metro bus at the King County Metro Atlantic/Central operating base in Seattle, Washington.
Larry Bowles, sprays Virex II 256, a disinfectant, on a bus in Seattle. Source: Getty Images

Placer County's public health department said in a statement that the patient tested presumptively positive on Tuesday at a California lab and was likely exposed between February 11 and 21 on a Princess cruise ship to Mexico from San Francisco.

"Preliminary understanding from the contact investigation is that this patient had minimal community exposure between returning from the cruise and arriving at the hospital by ambulance on February 27," the statement reads.

The person was the second confirmed case of the respiratory disease called COVID-19 in Placer County in Northern California.

An employee uses a pipette to transfer liquid into a vial at the Core Lab in Northwell Health's Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success, New York.
Researchers work in a lab in New York which is working on studying coronavirus. Source: Getty Images

In the greater Seattle area, the total number of coronavirus cases climbed to 39, up from 27 cases and nine deaths a day earlier, the Washington State Health Department announced.

The Seattle area has the largest concentration of coronavirus cases detected to date in the United States. Several cases were connected to a long-term care facility for the elderly in the Pacific Northwest state.

In New York state, the number of cases rose to 10 on Wednesday. Three family members and a neighbor of a lawyer who was previously identified as infected tested positive.

People wear face masks as a precaution against coronavirus in New York, United States.
Pedestrians in New York wear face masks as a precaution. Source: Getty Images

The neighbour’s wife and three of his children have also contracted the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

About 1,000 people in the New York City suburb of Westchester County, where the two families live, were under self-quarantine orders because of possible exposure, Mr Cuomo said.

"We are, if anything, being overcautious," he said.

with Reuters

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