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COVID-19 US Death Toll Climbs, White House Photo Shows VP Pence Praying with Coronavirus Task Force

Vice President Mike Pence leads the Coronavirus Task Force in prayer. (Image credit: White House)

At least nine people are now known to have died in the United States from the coronavirus. Right now there are at least 9 suspected or confirmed cases of local transmission in the country, meaning the virus has begun to spread beyond the cases that first came from direct contact in China or other countries.

The White House maintains the risk to Americans "remains low" adding that they now there will be more cases but that their task force is on top of containing the virus.

President Trump met with pharmaceutical executives Monday to discuss the timeline for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"We've asked them to accelerate whatever they are doing in terms of a vaccine," Trump said. 

The outbreak has crossed the country with new cases popping up in Florida, New York, and Rhode Island. 

Trump's North Carolina campaign rally is still on track.

"These were set up a long time ago and others are, you can ask that to the democrats they are holding a lot of rallies, that's what they are doing, they are campaigning," Trump said. "I think it's very safe."

The White House has banned foreign nationals who visited Iran in the last 14 days and raised the travel advisory for Italy and South Korea to level 4.

Delta and American Airlines are suspending flights between JFK and Milan.

Meanwhile, there is also talk of restricting travel across the Mexico border. 

"I want to tell everybody that the risk to Americans is still very low and that is because of the unprecedented steps the president took," said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

GET YOUR FREE FACTSHEET Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

One such step is appointing Vice President Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus task force.  He was seen praying with leaders as they work to combat the outbreak. 

"This is a unique virus with unique features. this virus is not influenza, we are in unchartered territory," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The president has ordered the State Department to help step up screenings as the military stands ready to be deployed. 

"The Department of Defense under the secretaries direction has standing plans to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and we are executing those plans at our bases around the world," said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Last week the Dow was down triple digits amid virus fears but appears to be back in the green a bit.  

"As of now, I've seen any indication that the panic surrounding this virus, the coronavirus," said Heritage Foundation's Joel Griffith. "I've seen no indication that is actually threatening liquidity within our system."

Stay with CBNNews.com for the latest on the coronavirus as we continue to provide updates here and on the CBN News Channel. For a programming schedule, click here

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