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Members of the task force created to address the deadly coronavirus outbreak hold a press briefing Wednesday at the White House as state and local authorities take drastic measures to slow the spread of the disease.
The outbreak has been expanding rapidly in the United States, and President Donald Trump’s administration is looking to funnel up to $1 trillion into an economic stimulus plan to mitigate the economic damage, with $550 billion earmarked for the direct payments or tax cuts. The Senate has yet to approve the bill that passed in the House on Saturday.
Trump on Wednesday hinted that the briefing could include some “very important news from the FDA.”
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic last week, saying it expects “to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”
Trump, whose administration has been sending mixed signals on the severity of the outbreak, declared a national emergency on Friday, a move that freed up financial resources to assist Americans affected by the outbreak.
Task force members include Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci and Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, among others.
The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 201,000 confirmed cases worldwide and at least 8,007 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
There are at least 6,496 cases in the United States and at least 114 deaths, according to the latest tallies from John Hopkins University.
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