A Kobe Bryant fan wears a mask to his memorial service in LA on Monday
Top health officials in the US have warned Americans to brace for the “inevitable” spread of the coronavirus disease that is sweeping the world.There are 53 confirmed cases in the US, and officials are calling on Congress to urgently pass billions of dollars on the response effort.President Donald Trump has said the situation is “well under control”.However, virus fears have sent stock markets plunging for a second day in a row. More than 2,700 people have died and some 80,000 have been taken ill, mostly in China where the virus originated.Outside China, Iran, South Korea and Italy have reported the largest number of cases causing concern that the virus could be becoming a pandemic.On Tuesday, US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention experts warned Americans of the coming outbreak.”We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” said Dr Nancy Messonnier of the National Center for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.”It’s not so much a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen,” she said, adding: “Disruption to everyday life might be severe.”The warning marks a change of tone for the CDC, which, until now, has largely been focused on efforts to stop the contagion from entering the country and on quarantining people who have travelled from China.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhat are viruses? And how do they spread?So far, 14 patients have been diagnosed with Covid-19 inside the US, while another 39 people have been diagnosed outside the US but are being treated in the country.
A pharmacy in California warns of shortages in gloves