19:48 GMT26 October 2020
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    US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak will benefit the US economy in the long run, as the virus is “another risk factor” companies will have to take into account when choosing to do business in China.

    “First of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus, so I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” Ross said during his appearance on the Fox Business program "Mornings with Maria" on January 30. “But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.”

    The commerce secretary did not stop his non-victory lap there, however.

    “You had SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome]; you have the African swine virus there; now you have this. It’s another risk factor that people need to take into account, so I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America - some to US, probably some to Mexico as well,” the 82-year-old said.

    The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, in December, has claimed the lives of at least 171 individuals and infected at least 8,240, according to CNBC. The US’ first person-to-person transmission of the virus was confirmed in Illinois on Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health officials.

    Netizens caught wind of Ross’ remarks on Fox Business and immediately admonished the secretary, as countries around the world continue to report the presence of the virus.

    Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) called out Ross and questioned why he even held his position as commerce secretary.

    India’s Press Information Bureau also recently came under fire after suggesting homeopathic methods for combating the coronavirus. Naturally, netizens did not take kindly to the government bureau proposing they ward off the virus by putting two drops of sesame seed oil in each nostril and massaging their scalp with chamomile oil.

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    Wilbur Ross, China, Wuhan, African swine fever, virus, coronavirus
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