President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he will discuss the coronavirus threat at 6 p.m EST tonight at a White House news conference.
In a post on Twitter, the president said representatives from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will attend.
“I will be having a News Conference at the White House, on this subject, today at 6:00 P.M. CDC representatives, and others, will be there. Thank you!” Trump wrote in his post.
The coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, has been spreading across the globe after emerging in China. While there are only 57 active cases affecting Americans, government officials are trying to stay ahead of the virus. But of that number, 43 are people who were repatriated from Wuhan, China, where the virus first emerged, or the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is docked in a port at Yokohama, Japan.
But there has been a surge of the number infected worldwide, according to MarketWatch.
The increase in cases overnight has primarily been driven by new cases in Iran (now at 139 cases and 19 deaths), Italy (374 cases and 12 deaths), Japan (178 cases and two deaths), and South Korea (1,261 cases and 12 deaths). While the outbreak has largely affected China — China’s Hubei Province has reported 94% of total deaths and mainland China has 96% of total cases — the emergence of COVID-19 clusters in these other countries has alarmed markets in recent days.
Worldwide, there are 81,245 confirmed cases and more than 2,700 people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.
Meanwhile, the White House is considering appointing a coronavirus “czar” to coordinate the government’s response to the spreading epidemic, according to Politico.
“Officials are still debating whether such a role is necessary, but the global spread has increased the urgency to elevate its response, and the Trump White House is eager to appear like it’s in control of containing the virus within the United States. Appointing a czar would mirror the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 when it named Ron Klain, a former adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, to coordinate nationwide efforts to fight that epidemic,” Politico writes.
Trump remains optimistic. On Tuesday he said the United States is “very close to a vaccine” for the coronavirus.
In a press conference in India, Trump also defended his administration’s decision to repatriate the nearly two dozen Americans on a cruise ship who are suffering from the illness.
“I felt that we should bring them back, they’re Americans, we should bring them back,” Trump said.
“As far as what we’re doing with the new virus, I think that we’re doing a great job. I felt that — and the decision was made in Japan, let these Americans come back and we will see — but they were immediately put into quarantine. There is no problem whatsoever with quarantine.”
“I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away,” Trump said about the outbreak. “Now they have studied it, they know very much. … In fact, we are very close to a vaccine,” he said.
At his press conference, Trump also touted a $2.5 billion spending plan that his administration sent to Congress.
Trump said on Monday that the epidemic is under control in the United States.
“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Trump wrote on Twitter, where he is on a two-day state visit.
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020