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Americans “Should Prepare For Community Spread,” CDC Warns As HHS’ Azar Admits US Lacks Mask Stockpile: Live Updates

Americans “Should Prepare For Community Spread,” CDC Warns As HHS’ Azar Admits US Lacks Mask Stockpile: Live Updates 

Summary: 

  • WHO warns the rest of the world “is not ready for the virus to spread…”
  • CDC warns Americans “should prepare for possible community spread” of virus.
  • HHS Sec. Azar warns US lacks stockpiles of masks
  • Italy Hotel in Lockdown After First Coronavirus Case in Liguria
  • First case in Switzerland
  • First case in Austria
  • First case in Spain
  • Iran Deputy Health Minister infected with Covid-19

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Update (1145ET): US CDC says COVID-19 epidemic is rapidly evolving and expanding, warning that a vaccine could be ready in a year, and Americans should prepare for possible spreads in communities.

As coronavirus spreads, WHO urges world to ‘prepare for potential pandemic’

“Now is the time for businesses, hospitals, communities, and schools to begin preparing to respond to coronavirus.”

Additionally, HHS Secretary Alex Azar says at Senate panel hearing that the U.S. doesn’t have enough stockpiles of masks and ventilators to fight the coronavirus and that’s one reason the Trump administration is seeking $2.5b in funding.

About 30m so-called N95 respirator masks are stockpiled but as many as 300m are needed for healthcare workers, Azar says, adding that his department doesn’t yet know how much they would cost.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who questioned the administration’s readiness to battle the spread of the virus:

“I’m deeply concerned we’re way behind the eight ball on this,” Murray said while questioning Azar at the Appropriations subcmte hearing.

Azar also says the money would be used to help develop vaccines and treatments for the virus and that a vaccine could be ready in a year.

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Update (1100ET): WHO’s Bruce Aylward told journalists that China’s actions “prevented hundreds of thousands of cases” and warned that the rest of the world “is not ready for the virus to spread,” adding that “countries should instruct citizens now on hygeine.”

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Update (1001ET)A case of the novel corona virus has been confirmed for the first time in Switzerland. The federal government announced on Tuesday. One person was tested positive for the virus, said those responsible.

Italian officials stated that the first patient was “obviously infected in Italy,” and will consider further measures if they think “uncontrolled transmission” of the virus is occurring.

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