National Economic Director Larry Kudlow on Tuesday claimed the coronavirus is “contained” in the United States after public health officials warned earlier in the day that the virus will likely begin spreading throughout the country.
“We have contained this,” Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said during an interview with CNBC. “I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight.”
“This is a human tragedy,” Kudlow continued. “That’s the worst part of this. The business side and the economic side ― I don’t think it’s going to be an economic tragedy at all.”
Kudlow spoke after financial markets sharply declined for a second day as investors speculated how the virus, named COVID-19, might affect the global economy.
His statement appeared at odds with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s assessment during a news conference earlier Tuesday, where officials warned of a potential pandemic.
“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “It’s more of a question of when.”
Messonnier called on communities to prepare for potential outbreaks.
“The disruption of daily life might be severe,” she said.
The death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 2,700 worldwide as of Tuesday afternoon, with the vast majority of cases in mainland China. The virus is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
China has reported more than 77,000 confirmed cases.
At least 53 Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to the CDC’s website. At least 36 of those people were infected while onboard a cruise ship.
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” on Jan. 30.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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