U.S. plans 'radical expansion' of coronavirus tests


(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) GINA RAIMONDO, GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND, SAYING:

"Yesterday we discovered what we believe is the first case of coronavirus here in the state of Rhode Island."

That's Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, on Sunday, who announced the state's first presumed case of coronavirus.

Rhode Island health officials had devised their own method of testing for the virus, the state's health director said, who added that the Centers for Disease Control must still confirm the finding.

She also said that state officials are working to identify those who had direct contact with the patient.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) DR., NICOLE ALEXANDER-SCOTT, DIRECTOR OF THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SAYING:

"This was an individual in their 40s, who recently returned from a trip to Europe, which included time in Italy, France and Spain. This individual is being treated in the hospital right now, and our thoughts are certainly with this person and their family to continue toward a full recovery."

About 70 cases of coronavirus - also known as COVID-19 - have been diagnosed in the U.S.

The first fatality from the virus was reported Saturday in Washington state. And authorities there still don't know how that person became infected.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP ON SATURDAY, SAYING:

"She was a wonderful woman. A medically high-risk patient in her late 50s."

The deceased is actually a man. Trump's mistake was addressed by his Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) 'FACE THE NATION' HOST MARGARET BRENNAN, SAYING:

"It is a man. How is a mistake like that made, because people are very nervous right now and getting some of these basic facts right affects public trust."

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) ALEX AZAR SEC. OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SAYING:

"Well, I understand that. It's a very fast moving situation. Our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were up late at night, very earl- early in the morning, working with the Washington state public health office and inaccurately recorded that the individual was a female. That's what the president was briefed on. They've apologized for incorrectly briefing on that. But it's a very fast moving situation. Obviously we regret the error."

Azar was then asked how many Americans he expects will come down with the virus.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) ALEX AZAR SEC. OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SAYING:

"We cannot make predictions as to how many cases we will have, but we will have more and we will have more community cases. It's simply just a matter of math."

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) 'FACE THE NATION' HOST MARGARET BRENNAN, SAYING:

"You have to have a number you're working with to make sure you have adequate supply, things like testing kits, right? So how are we are shortages? You may not want to tell me the number but you have one in your head."

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) ALEX AZAR SEC. OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SAYING:

"No, we don't... In terms of testing kits, we've already tested over 3,600 people for the virus. We now have the capability in the field to test 75,000 people, and within the next week or two we'll have a radical expansion even beyond that."

Azar also said he was looking into a whistleblower complaint that his agency did not give adequate training to U.S. officials who greeted Americans flown to a California air force base from Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to have originated.

Rebutting Democratic criticism that the administration had bungled its response to the outbreak, Vice President Mike Pence - who is leading the Trump administration's response to the virus - told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the government has done "everything possible" to prevent the spread of the disease.

He also tried to calm fears that the coronavirus could cause a global recession, saying the stock market "will come back."

The S&P 500 dropped 11.5% last week - the worst weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis.