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Pence blasts ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ from people minimizing concerns over COVID-19 pandemic

He appeared on TV Thursday

(Photo by Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence has hit out at "irresponsible rhetoric" from people downplaying the severity of coronavirus, or COVID-19, according to NBC News.

What are the details?

In a Thursday interview with the "Today" show's Savannah Guthrie, Guthrie asked the vice president his thoughts on media hype and the politicizing of coronavirus.

“Well, obviously, there's been some irresponsible rhetoric, but the American people should know that President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well-being of the people of this country," Pence told Guthrie.

"You can rest assured we're going to focus on communities where we've had community spread."

What else?

She also asked the vice president to discuss some of the pandemic's key details.

"The president has said ... 'this will go away,'" Guthrie said. "Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said you can expect millions and millions to get it; the worst is yet to come. Congress' own doctor said that a third of the American population could get coronavirus. Do you agree with that number? What do your experts tell you the number of infected Americans is likely to be?"

Pence did not commit to a detailed number, but instead touted the president's announcement that he would be banning travel from Europe for the time being in order to cut down on community spread.

"Let me be clear that from early on, the president has declared a public health emergency, suspended all travel from China, we limited travel and issued advisories for portions of Italy and South Korea and now ... from Europe precisely for the reason that we know there will be thousands more cases of coronavirus in this country."

"Thousands or millions?" Guthrie interrupted.

He responded, "I'll leave to the experts to make the estimates of how many people may be infected. And it's important for your viewers to remember, Savannah, that the vast majority of people even that contract the coronavirus will experience flu-like symptoms and they'll fully recover."

"But it's because of the vulnerable population — seniors with serious chronic underlying health conditions — that we're focusing so much attention on nursing homes, we're communicating so much with health officials and families that have seniors in a vulnerable condition ... we're combatting community spread," he continued. "The action the president took yesterday ... suspending travel from Europe for 30 days is all because we know there will be more infections in the days ahead. We're trying to hold that number down as much as possible."

One last thing…
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