City News

San Antonio mayor 'stunned' by Trump administration's response to coronavirus

San Antonio mayor 'stunned' by president's response to coronavirus

Mayor Ron Nirenberg headshot
The mayor took aim at the White House in a Washington Post interview. Mayor Ron Nirenberg/Facebook

As he tries to calm coronavirus fears in San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg is taking aim at the Trump administration.

In an interview with the Washington Post, published March 9, the San Antonio mayor called the federal response to coronavirus "disconcerting" before adding: "Throughout the course of this, what I’ve seen is that the lack of coordination at the highest levels of this president’s administration is simply stunning.”

Nirenberg — and San Antonio — have had a front-row seat to the coronavirus scare. In late February, Lackland Air Force Base welcomed 120 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were quarantined on the base for more than two weeks. The saga of the Diamond Princess, a British cruise ship that was kept in quarantine for weeks off the coast of Japan, began on February 1 after a former passenger tested positive for coronavirus. 

On March 2, the City of San Antonio issued a Public Health Emergency Declaration and a temporary restraining order to keep the Centers for Disease Control from releasing the quarantined passengers. In response, the CDC modified its protocol and the passengers were released the following day, though Mayor Nirenberg banned them from entering the City of San Antonio. 

“As Mayor of this city, my foremost concern is preventing the spread of the coronavirus to the local community,” Nirenberg said in a March 3 release.

On March 8, news broke that more people will be sent to Lackland for quarantine, prompting the mayor to host a press conference on March 9 to help calm fears stoked by a flurry of misinformation. As the Texas Tribune reported in this March 9 article, there are only 75 coronavirus tests currently available in San Antonio. Though the CDC has prioritized the city to receive more, it's unclear when that will happen. 

“Texas, all of our cities, especially San Antonio, needs a heck of a lot more testing," Nirenberg said during the March 9 press conference. "And we’re requesting that ASAP.”