“Now we’re focused on mitigation of the spread, as well as the treatment of the people affected,” Pence said.
Top Trump administration officials are shifting their message on the coronavirus outbreak, emphasizing efforts to contain, rather than prevent, the disease.
The tone at a Monday afternoon White House briefing with Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump’s coronavirus task force marked a notable change from earlier efforts to tamp down fear of community spread of the disease — a tacit acknowledgment of a surge in new cases over the past two days and six reported deaths. There are currently 43 confirmed cases in the U.S., including 26 involving people who had no known exposure to the virus.
“Now we’re focused on mitigation of the spread, as well as the treatment of the people affected,” Pence said. The comments came shortly after Washington state officials announced four additional deaths.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar stressed the immediate risk to the American public remains low, but added: “The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly.” He said officials expect more confirmed cases as the U.S.’s testing capacity is expected to dramatically ramp up this week.
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