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Trump Says Coronavirus Risk In US 'Low,' Appoints Pence To Lead Response Team

Trump Says Coronavirus Risk In US 'Low,' Appoints Pence To Lead Response Team

President Donald Trump held a press conference on Wednesday to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.

What Happened

"The risk to the American people remains very low," the president said, taking credit for what he said were "very good early decisions" taken by him personally, including closing American borders for flights coming in from "certain areas."

"Some people called me racist because I made a decision so early," Trump said. "[We] had never done that as a country before, let alone early. So, it was a bold decision...turned out to be a good decision."

Trump shared what immunologist Tony Fauci told him that the Flu kills anywhere between 25,000 to 69,000 people a year in the U.S. alone, a more significant number than the coronavirus's global toll. "That was shocking to me," he added.

The president noted that there had been only 15 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., not including the people who caught the virus elsewhere but were repatriated to the country. He added that only two of the affected people remain in the hospitals. Five have completely recovered, and another eight have also been discharged from hospitals but asked to continue recovery at home.

Vice-President Mike Pence will lead the White House response team for the virus, Trump said, noting Pence's experience with managing healthcare in Indiana.

"He's really very expert at the field," Trump said. "Mike will be working with the professionals and doctors and everybody else that's working. The team is brilliant."

Why It Matters

In the hours following the press conference, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it had identified the first case to suggest a possible community spread. The patient had neither traveled to an affected area nor had direct contact with another confirmed patient.

President Trump has requested the Congress to release $2.5 billion in funding as part of the White House's efforts in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

At least 60 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S. by press time, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The virus has claimed 2,801 deaths, with 82,164 cases reported globally. The sudden outbreak of the virus outside China, especially in South Korea and Italy, has increased fears of the virus spreading to other countries.

The CDC earlier said that the spread of the virus in the U.S. is "not a question of if but when."

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Online Stream.


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