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Coronavirus 10x more deadly than flu: Fauci

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(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT THE U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH ANTHONY FAUCI, SAYING:

"We will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now."

That was the stark assessment from a top U.S. health official on Wednesday about the coronavirus epidemic spreading across the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health testified before a Congressional panel as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. crossed 1,000.

That's according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT THE U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH ANTHONY FAUCI, SAYING:

"Bottom line, it's going to get worse."

And Fauci made clear that comparisons between this virus and the seasonal flu failed to communicate the danger.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT THE U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH ANTHONY FAUCI, SAYING:

"I mean people always say well the flu, you know the flu does this and the flu does that. The flu has a mortality of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality of ten times that. That's the reason why I want to emphasize that we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this."

Over 30 people have died from the disease in the U.S…most of them in Washington state alone - which on Wednesday banned gatherings of more than 250 people in three counties around Seattle.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE, SAYING:

"Parades, concerts, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, and similar activities of that dimension are prohibited as we go forward."

Governor Jay Inslee said he may soon close schools to slow the spread of coronavirus in a state suffering the deadliest outbreak in the United States.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE, SAYING:

"There is no magic, silver bullet at the moment, medically. But there is a very successful effort that we can take to slow the spread of this disease, and that's to reduce the social interactions that are not necessary in our lives."

Across the country, the New York City suburb of New Rochelle is subject to a one-mile containment zone after Governor Andrew Cuomo labeled the town a "hot spot" for transmission.

On Wednesday, Cuomo announced he'd contracted with 28 private-sector laboratories to ramp up coronavirus testing in the state.

Cuomo said testing was critical to getting a handle on the outbreak, and faulted the federal government for failing to meet the public need.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING:

"Frankly, we're not in a position where we can count on the CDC or the FDA to manage this testing protocol."

San Francisco announced a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to slow the virus.

The Golden State Warriors on Wednesday said they plan to hold their Thursday home game without spectators.

And the NCAA president said its 'March Madness' basketball tournament also won't be played in front of crowds. Spectators will be restricted to essential staff and some family members - only.

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