McConnell on coronavirus: 'This is not a time for fear'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) called for calm Monday amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, reiterating that the risk of contracting the virus remains low. 

"This is not a time for fear. It is a time to continue calmly scaling up the serious and smart preparations that have already been underway so the United States can continue working to blunt, slow and mitigate the spread within our borders," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

McConnell added that it was inevitable that the United States would have to combat the coronavirus but the questions were about “when and to what degree.”

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“All Americans should follow the recommendations of the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and their state and local authorities,” McConnell said. “Our great nation is very strong ... With calm and confidence, all Americans, all of us, should continue to listen to the experts."

His comments come amid deepening concerns about a growing outbreak of the coronavirus. 

There are 423 cases in the United States, spread out across 34 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC.

The growing number sparked a plunge in stock markets and is leading to a growing sense of anxiety on Capitol Hill where five lawmakers have self-quarantined after potentially coming into contact with infected people.

Some Senate Republicans, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again MORE (Iowa), are floating tax legislation or other stimulus packages to try boost the economy. 

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Schumer slam Trump executive orders, call for GOP to come back to negotiating table Trump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (D-Calif.) shot down talk of closing the Capitol to try to provide a buffer for lawmakers.

“No. No, no, no, no. Do you understand, no?” she told reporters for CNN and NBC News.