President Donald Trump, along with members of what is being called his administration’s “coronavirus task force,” is holding a press conference on Wednesday evening to address concerns about a possible U.S. outbreak and the nation’s readiness to deal with same.
Trump will brief reporters from the White House briefing room at 6:30 pm ET, marking only his second such appearance there in three-plus years as POTUS. Watch a livestream of the press conference above.
The coronavirus as of Feb. 25 has spread throughout China and to 31 other countries/territories, resulting in more than 80,000 total cases and nearly 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 (the disease caused by said virus). As of Feb. 26, the number of new reported diagnoses outside of China is outpacing those within.
In the United States, more than 50 cases — many of which are patients repatriated from high-risk locations — have been diagnosed. “It’s not so much a question of if this will [spread in the U.S.] anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a Tuesday briefing.
Trump has asked Congress for $1.25 billion in new funds (for a total of $2.5 billion in emergency funds) to manage the potential outbreak, though lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have contended that is not enough. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, for one, has argued that an amount closer to $8.5 billion would be more sufficient for the crisis.