President Trump spoke from the White House on Saturday to address the country's first death from the coronavirus occurring in Washington state.
Trump started out by thanking the professionals who have been working to detect and contain the spread of the illness.
"It's a tough one but a lot of progress has been made. At this moment we have 22 patients that have coronavirus. One has passed away overnight, a woman in her late 50's and 4 others are very ill, Trump said. Thankfully 15 others are either recovering or on their way to recovery.”
"Additional cases in the US are likely but healthy individuals should be able to recover. We are familiar with this problem and those should be able to recover. If you are healthy you will probably go through a process and you'll be fine."
The president said that early travel restrictions into and out of China have helped keep the number of coronavirus cases low in America.
"Experts agree that the decision to move so quickly was wise and greatly slowed its move to the US. It allowed these professionals to get together and figure it out. We moved very early that really turned out to be a lifesaver," Trump said. "On Jan. 31, I opposed travel for anybody that had been to China. China is making tremendous progress...their numbers are way down."
The President then talked about moving forward next week.
"On Monday I will be meeting with pharmaceutical companies and we will talk about a vaccine to combat the virus. These companies will be coming to the White House. Supplies are on hand," he said. "We have 43 million masks and a lot more are coming. The White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Pence met for two and a half hours and we came up with some ideas and recommendations that we will be going by. We are having a group of talented people working around the clock."
Vice President Mike Pence spoke about travel restrictions to certain regions abroad.
"We are going to increase the travel advisory to a level 4, advising Americans not to travel to specific regions in Italy and South Korea that are most affected by the virus. From the moment the country learned about this, the task force was initiated and all travel was suspended. There are additional travel restrictions on Iran," Pence said.
He assured the public that the task force team has been working with health officials on the state and local level and "we are all in this together. We will be working on a supplemental funding bill to make sure state and local health officials have resources and reimbursement to take care of people,” he added.
Pence stressed that the average American is safe from the coronavirus and that risks are still low.
"The average American does not need to go out and buy a mask. This administration is going to put our patients first, then protect our healthcare providers. We have contracted for more masks and will work with other manufacturers. The risk to Americans remains low," Pence concluded.
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar said, "This is what we expected. The risk remains low thanks to our actions, but this can change. From the first moment, we knew we would see more cases and we are and will continue to.
He added, “The country as a whole remains at low risk, this is a revolving situation. We prevented travel from China to the US. The approach is going to be to keep those with an active infection from getting here. We will aggressively do the health measures that will hopefully contain them.”
The press conference closed with President Trump assuring Americans that risks are low and to carry out their normal daily routines.
"At this stage, risk is low - go on with our normal life. We should anticipate more cases but the risk is low. We are going to be in very good shape" Trump concluded.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance on how to prevent the spread of illnesses and what measures to take for protection.
Regular hand washing, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze, and when you're sick, stay home from work or school and drink lots of fluids.
The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and properly disinfect areas that may have been exposed to the virus.
Also, the CDC explained that wearing a surgical mask is not necessary if you are well.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— US Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020