Trump said 'yeah, okay' and hung up the phone when his health secretary warned him about the coronavirus in January, a new book says

According to a new book, Trump ignored warnings about coronavirus in January 2020.Alex Azar, then-HHS Secretary, tried to inform Trump via phone about the threat from COVID-19.Trump replied, "Yeah, okay," and then hung up.Check out more stories from Insider's business page.The conversation was cut short by former President Donald Trump when Alex Azar, his health secretary, warned him about the coronavirus in January 2020. According to "Nightmare Scenario" (Washington Post's new book), "Nightmare Scenario", a new book entitled "Nightmare Scenario : Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic that Changed History," written by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.According to the book, the president was at Mar-a-Lago in Florida at that time. Meanwhile, health staffers in his administration became increasingly concerned about COVID-19.Azar said to Trump in a phone conversation mid-January 2020, just before COVID-19 broke out and forced officials into lockdowns. "There is a new virus from China that could prove to be very dangerous. It could be exactly what we've been anticipating and worrying about."Azar informed Trump that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have begun screening travelers from China to the US and that additional safety precautions may be needed to reduce the spread of the virus.Trump responded, apparently unconvinced by Trump's threat, "Yeah. Okay." He then hung up his phone.Azar, the then-head for the Health and Human Services Department failed to reach the president. Trump was still angry about a recent policy banning most flavored ecigarettes. Azar had been on unstable ground with Trump. According to the book, Trump was upset by the move and thought it would cost him his reelection bid.According to the Post, Azar could "hardly get a word in" before Trump began shouting at him about e-cigarettes during his January phone call.According to the book, Trump also rejected Azar's advice that month. Azar asked Trump not to tweet a praise for Chinese President Xi Jinping over the pandemic.According to the book, he said to Trump, "For the love and favor of God, don’t do that." Trump took the initiative and tweeted.As COVID-19 deaths and infections rose in the US over the next months, Trump ignored advice from his own government. Trump and his closest allies would often downplay the severity and ignore guidelines such as social distancing and mask-wearing. His administration saw over 400,000 Americans die from COVID-19.