WASHINGTON D.C. (NBC) – The Centers for Disease Control is warning Americans to begin preparing for a likely outbreak of coronavirus in the United States.
CDC officials say Americans should expect disruptions including school closings, working from home and delayed elective medical procedures.
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The rapidly spreading strain of coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19, has been confirmed in more than three dozen countries around the globe, infecting more than 80,0000 people worldwide.
South Korea has confirmed nearly a thousand cases, and Italy is sealing off a dozen towns and restricting residents’ movements as cases there climb.
The CDC is now urging Americans to brace for “community spread” here.
“Based on what we know right now we believe the immediate risk here in the United States remains low,” says CDC Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchatt, while adding “But we must use this time to continue to prepare for the event of community transmission in the U.S.”
The Trump administration has requested as much as $2.5 billion to fight the outbreak.
Democrats say its that’s not enough, pointing to previously proposed budget cuts to the CDC.
“Four words describe the administration’s response to the coronavirus: Towering and dangerous incompetence,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.