WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC News) — A new face leading the fight against coronavirus in the United States.
Vice President Mike Pence is now coordinating the country’s response to the spread of the virus, officially named COVID-19.
President Donald Trump announced he was assigning the task to Pence Wednesday evening.
During a press conference addressing the rapidly spreading virus, Mr. Trump said the risk to the public is low.
The Centers for Disease Control, meanwhile, cautions a widespread epidemic is possible and Americans should prepare for disruptions to daily life, including school and business closures.
Shortly after the president’s address, officials confirmed what may be the first case of community transmission in the United States, a person in California with no known exposure to the virus.
The Trump administration is asking lawmakers for two point five billion in emergency funding to prepare and rush development of a vaccine, which is still a year away at the earliest.
Critics on both sides of the aisle say it’s too little, too late.
“The CDC had people in 49 countries. Those were the front lines to prevent it from coming here. Now there are only ten,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, referencing recent budget and staff cuts.
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