With more than 900 reported cases and a task force created by Donald Trump to prepare the nation, coronavirus fears have begun to grip the United States as schools cancel classes and officials have urged elderly people to avoid large crowds.
Coronavirus concerns have also prompted several members of US Congress to self quarantine after coming into contact with people who were infected, and some politicians have begun to indicate they believe the Capitol building should be shut off to visitors until the growing outbreak has been contained.
So far, 30 people have been killed by the virus, including at least 24 in Washington, two in California and another two in Florida. Eight people have so-far recovered from the virus, which has sparked a rare national lock down in Italy. The rapid increase of coronavirus cases in the US and across the world encouraged one expert to compare the numbers to Italy, which has seen more than 9,100 cases. The expert anticipates America’s epidemic could look like Italy’s in nine to 14 days.
The spread of the coronavirus got worse in Italy on Tuesday, with the state revealing the death toll has risen by 168 people in just 24 hours. It made for the largest single day jump and 631 people have died from the virus to date.
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state warned there could be 64,000 cases of coronavirus in his state alone if the spread continues. The state has at least 167 confirmed cases, but the governor believes it is closer to 1,000 people infected by the virus. Health officials warn the official tally is significantly lower than the number of people likely infected across the country.
In response to the growing number of coronavirus cases, both North Carolina and Massachusetts declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. The declaration allows the states to allocate funds towards the proper governmental agencies to combat the spread fo the virus. It also prevents price gouging.
Trump attempted to calm Americans after he met with Republican lawmakers about a package to cushion any economic fallout from the pandemic. "It will go away, just stay calm," Trump said. "Be calm. It's really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen."
His administration has received backlash from public officials over the handling of the coronavirus, including the lack of testing originally available. Trump also met with insurance companies on Tuesday, and each said they would cover the cost of coronavirus tests for all of their private insurers.