Story at a glance
- Harris said this week the U.S. could become the epicenter of the crisis as cases in the country are accelerating.
- She told CNN Wednesday the U.S. still has time to turn things around with testing and isolating ill and exposed patients.
- The U.S. has confirmed more than 55,000 cases and more than 800 deaths.
Officials with the World Health Organization (WHO) say there is still time for the United States to avoid becoming the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of cases and deaths continues to climb in the nation.
More than 55,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S., with more than 800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“The potential is there, but you’ve still got time to turn it around.” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told CNN Wednesday.
“You’ve got the best public health brains in the world,” Harris said. “You’ve got people who can harness technology brilliantly. You’ve got people who can really think out of the box.”
Harris previously told reporters Tuesday, that the U.S. could be the site of the next epicenter based on a large acceleration of infections in the country.
“We are now seeing a very large acceleration of cases in the U.S. So it does that have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential,” Harris told reporters.
She told CNN that success on curbing the spread depends on testing, finding each case, identifying those who have come into contact with infected patients and isolating those who are sick or have been exposed and quarantining.
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Government leaders across the U.S. have ordered nonessential businesses to close and residents to confine themselves at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses across the country have closed to limit the virus’s spread. The stock market has plummeted and unemployment is expected to skyrocket.
President Trump on Tuesday said he hopes to have the country “opened up” for business by Easter, April 12.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the president’s timeline for lifting restrictions on parts of the country by Easter should be “flexible.”
More than 430,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 19,000 deaths.
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