US prepares detailed $8.5 billion emergency fund to combat coronavirus

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Senate Democrats in the United States are preparing a detailed request of $8.5-billion dollars in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus after complaints that the administration was caught flat-footed in its response to the epidemic.

While 57 cases have been confirmed in the United States with zero fatalities, the Centres for Disease Control has alerted Americans to begin preparing for the spread of the virus in the country.

But President Donald Trump hit back at the criticism on Twitter, saying the United States was in great shape.

The leader of the Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer is seeking a spending request three times the $2.5-billion dollars the White House requested from Congress earlier this week.

As Americans brace themselves amidst worrying signs in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“Now, President Trump has said that the coronavirus might ‘miraculously fade’ once the weather gets warmer. Towering and dangerous incompetence, with no plan to deal with this potential health crisis, the administration last night (Tuesday) issued an emergency budget request. It was too little and too late.”

A look at five cross-border outbreaks in the last five years and some countries affected

Cases globally

Almost 81 000 cases have been confirmed globally with more than 78 000 in China alone.

Japan has more than 800. South Korea more than 1200 cases. Brazil reported the first case in Latin America after a national returned from Italy which has the largest number of cases at 325 outside of Asia.

At least 9 European countries are now reporting. While, Iran has more than 100 cases with 8 countries in the Middle East now confirming the virus in their territories.

The official line in the United States is that the general risk to the public remains low as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explains, “As we have warned, that has the potential to change quickly. There is now community transmission in a number of countries, including outside of Asia. That’s deeply concerning and community spread in other countries will make successful containment at our borders harder and harder. That’s why we’ve already been working closely with state, local and private sector partners to prepare for mitigating the virus’ potential spread in the United States because we will likely see more cases here, as we have said throughout this episode.”

Director of the National Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Nancy Messonnier says the Centres for Disease Control is planning for community spread in the United States.

“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this 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 a severe illness.”

And while the spread of the virus has been limited particularly in Africa and Latin America, it has not spread to every continent except Antarctica.

“I want to recognise that people are concerned about the situation. I would say rightfully so. I’m concerned about the situation. CDC is concerned about the situation. But we are putting our concerns to work, preparing, and now is the time for businesses, hospitals, community schools and everyday people to begin preparing as well.”

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to say both the CDC and his administration are doing a great job in handling Coronavirus.

After the Dow Jones plummeted, more than 1 900 points over two days due to investor concerns, Trump complained that certain news channels were doing everything to make the virus look as bad as possible. He’s expected to hold a press conference later Wednesday.

Reports also suggest that the White House is considering appointing a Coronavirus Tzar to coordinate the US response to the epidemic.

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