Trump CDC visit called off after virus infection concern

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn upon arrival at the White House, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Washington, from a trip to Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON | President Donald Trump’s visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has been called off because of concerns that a staff member may have been infected by the coronavirus.

Trump told reporters Friday that concerns were raised Thursday about “one person who was potentially infected” who worked at the CDC. “Because of the one person they didn’t want me going,” he added, explaining why a planned stop at the agency, which is working with state and local officials to help combat the spread of the new virus, was left off his schedule.

Trump said the person has since tested negative for the new virus. He said he still hopes to visit the agency.

COVID-19 so far has killed 12 people in the U.S., most of them in Washington state.

Trump had planned to sign an $8.3 billion coronavirus response funding bill at the CDC. Instead he signed it at the White House before his departure to travel to view tornado damage in Tennessee.

The White House said in a statement that Trump would no longer visit the agency because he “does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency.”