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Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross: China’s Coronavirus Outbreak Could ‘Help’ Bring Jobs Back To U.S.

A member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet is taking some flak on Thursday after seemingly saying that the coronavirus outbreak in China will benefit the U.S. by encouraging companies to move to North America.

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Speaking on Fox Business, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to preface his remarks by appearing to show some modicum of decency.

“First of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate disease,” Ross said in his comments.

Yet that didn’t stop him from seeing the economic benefits of the virus from a U.S. perspective, the Washington Post reported.

“The fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain…it’s another risk factor that people need to take into account,” Ross explained. “So I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to the U.S., probably some to Mexico as well.”

The comments from Ross were deemed by many on social media as being insensitive, especially as China has been hit hard by the virus. At least 170 individuals have died from the outbreak of coronavirus, with 7,700 reportedly confirmed infected with the virus so far, The Daily Beast reported.

The “benefits” of the disease being in China will not likely last, either, as health experts are warning that the outbreak will likely hit the U.S. and a variety of other nations in the coming weeks.

The disease has had an economic impact, but not in the way Ross has implied. American stocks have already been hit hard as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and the virus’ prominence in the news has resulted in markets plunging across the globe as well, the New York Times reported.

From January 17 to 29, the Dow Jones has dropped more than 600 points, most of which has been attributed to the coronavirus.