Anger towards Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus has deepened after it emerged he ignored warnings three months ago leading America to become the hardest-hit country in the world.
The President was issued with advice by his National Security Council in January to consider shutting down cities and keep people home from work.
The council, which is responsible for tracking pandemics, had received intelligence reports predicting the devastation Covid-19 could cause to the U.S. once it hit.
Officials then provided options to Trump that would prevent the spread of the virus, including shutting down entire cities the size of Chicago.
But the US leader ignored the warnings, and instead waited until March to implement such measures.
The details emerged as Trump was forced to declare a major disaster in all 50 states – the first time in U.S. history.
The States now has more than 520,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with at least 20,500 dead although it has yet to reach its peak.
The grim death toll doubled in just five days and is now passed Italy’s high.
Trump delivered his Easter Sunday message promising people would be back in churches soon as he urged American families to “bring the family together”.
“We’re winning the battle, we’re winning the war,’ he said in the video message posted to Twitter Easter.
“We’ll be back together in churches right next to each other. Celebrate. Bring the family together like no other. We have a lot to be thankful for.”
Only a fortnight ago, Trump had set the goal for reopening the country by Easter – but soon walked back on that promise and instead revealed that the rate of coronavirus deaths and cases in the U.S. would likely peak the week of Easter.
Bill Gates criticised the handling of the virus saying there has been “very little preparation” ahead of pandemic adding “we weren’t ready”.
The Microsoft billionaire told BBC Breakfast: “Very few countries are going to get an A grade for what that scrambling looked like.”
He added: “Unlike the defence project that prepares us for wars, where we simulate the problem and make sure we are good at it, for this risk that I viewed as even greater than the risk of war, there was very, very little preparation.
“I do think now because this has been so dramatic that we weren’t ready for this pandemic.
“We should have rehearsed how we deal with all these shortages, with working together for a really good system for seeing these early before the curve gets to a meaningful part of the population.’
“I ask myself every morning did this really happen and even though I worried about it, I still find it shocking how tough it is and how hard it is going to be to get back to the normal life that we had before.”