Top U.S. public health officials said Tuesday that Americans should prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in communities across the country.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a media briefing Tuesday.
On Feb. 25, the Chinese government said that there had been 508 new confirmed cases by the end of the previous day, along with 74 deaths, bringing the total number of accumulated infections nationwide to 77,658, with 2,663 deaths.
Iran confirmed 95 cases across the country, with at least 15 deaths, as concerns grew about the outbreak’s spread through the Middle East. Meanwhile, South Korea reported 144 new cases of coronavirus, bringing its national tally to 977.
Measures to contain the virus in the U.S. so far have involved restricting travel to and from China — the center of the outbreak — and isolating cases identified so far in this country.
On Monday, the Trump administration requested $2.5 billion to help stop the spread of the virus. It asked Congress to authorize $1.25 billion in new emergency funds and called for diverting another $1.25 billion from other federal programs.