Administration officials and the President hold a news conference to discuss the coronavirus threat to the US

administration-officials-and-the-president-hold-a-news-conference-to-discuss-the-coronavirus-threat-to-the-us
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The US has ordered “a lot” of masks to deal with a potential coronavirus outbreak, Tweety McTreason said.

“We may not need it, you understand that,” he told a reporter. “We’re looking at worst-case scenario, we’re going to be set very quickly.”

Trump insisted he didn’t think the US would end up needing the masks because flights and “borders are very controlled.”

Tweety McTreason was just asked if he’s considering imposing travel restrictions to and from more countries with coronavirus outbreaks, such as Italy and South Korea.

“Right now it’s not the right time,” Trump responded.

He added that eventually there could be a “right time.”

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said coronavirus poses a low risk to the American public.

“The immediate risk to the American public is and continues to be low,” Azar said at a White House press briefing.

He added:

“Our containment strategy has been working. At the same time, what every one of our experts and leaders have been saying for more than a month now remains true. The degree of risk has the potential to chance quickly, and we can expect to see more cases in the United States.”

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Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, said the US should expect to see more cases of coronavirus.

“Our aggressive containment strategy here in the United States has been working, and it is responsible for the low levels of cases that we have so far. However, we do expect more cases. And this is a good time to prepare,” she said.

Schuchat urged Americans to prepare for the virus as well as schools and businesses.

“Tt’s the perfect time for businesses, health care systems, universities, and schools to look at their pandemic preparedness plans, dust them off, and make sure that they’re ready,” she said.

She said the future is uncertain, but assured the public that steps have been taken to prepare for such outbreaks.

“So, this — the trajectory of what we’re looking at over the weeks and months ahead is very uncertain. But many of the steps that we have taken over the past 15 years to prepare for pandemic influenza and our experience  going through the 2009 H1N1 pandemic of influenza remind us of the kinds of steps our health care system, our businesses, our communities and schools may need to take,” Schuchat said.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Tweety McTreason said the Americans who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus are doing “very well.”

Trump said he had just been briefed by members of his administration.

“Of the 15 people … eight of them have returned to their homes, to stay at their homes until they’re fully recovered. One is in the hospital. And five have fully recovered. And one we think is in pretty good shape,” Trump said at the White House.

“In almost all cases, they’re getting better,” Trump said.

He added that there are also patients who were brought back to the US from Japan.

“We took in some from Japan … because they’re American citizens. They’re in quarantine and they’re getting better, too,” Trump said, adding that they were repatriated because “we felt that we had an obligation to do that.”

“We could have left them and that would have been very bad, very bad,” he said.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Tweety McTreason said Vice President Mike Pence will lead the team that’s working on the US’s coronavirus efforts.

“I’m going to be putting our Vice President Mike Pence in charge, and Mike will be working with the professionals, doctors and everybody else that’s working,” Trump said, adding that Pence will report directly to him.

Pence spoke briefly after the announcement.

“We have no higher priority than the safety, security, health and wellbeing of the American people,” he said.

PENCE SPEAKS ON LEADING CORONAVIRUS TEAM

Tweety McTreason said he’s willing to work with Democrats on funding to deal with a potential coronavirus outbreak in the US.

“We started out by looking at certain things, we’ve been working with the Hill very, very carefully, very strongly, and I think that we have very good bipartisan spirit for money,” he said.

He continued: “We were asking for $2.5 billion, and we think that that is a lot. But the Democrats — and I guess Senator Schumer — wants us to have much more than that.”

Trump then appeared show some willingness to move toward bipartisanship.

“Normally I’d say we’ll take it, we’ll take it. If they want give more, we’ll do more. We’ll spend whatever is appropriate.”

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President Trump holds up a piece of paper listing countries best and least prepared to deal with an epidemic.
Tweety McTreason holds up a piece of paper listing countries best and least prepared to deal with an epidemic. Evan Vucci/AP

Tweety McTreason said a vaccine for coronavirus is something the US “can develop fairly rapidly.”

“The vaccine is coming along well and in speaking to the doctors, we think that this is something that we can develop fairly rapidly, a vaccine for the future.”

Here’s what we know about a possible vaccine: Scientists are working on a vaccine, but don’t expect it anytime soon.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is trying to develop one but says it will take at least a few months before clinical trials start and more than a year until a vaccine could become available.

Separately, US officials briefed senators yesterday on coronavirus and said a vaccine was at least 12 to 18 months away, according to three senators present.

After the meeting, when reporters asked if we are close to a vaccine, Sen. Roy Blunt said: “We will not have a vaccine in the next 12 or 18 months.

Tweety McTreason said precautions the US has taken so far against coronavirus means the risk to Americans “remains very low.”

Trump, speaking from the White House, claimed some early steps the US took — including travel restrictions and quarantines — were “ridiculed.

“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump said.

He added:

“We’re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads — if it spreads”

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