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US health officials issue urgent warning that a coronavirus epidemic in America is inevitable


Not if, but when

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The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that a coronavirus epidemic in America is not a matter of if — but when.

According to the outlet, "The comments were made in separate briefings to lawmakers and reporters on Tuesday, marking an escalation in tone and urgency."

What are the details?

Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said that U.S. health officials expect to see a coronavirus epidemic within the United States.

"As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder," Messionner said in Tuesday remarks.

She added that two out of three "requirements" for a "pandemic of new disease" have been met and that Americans should begin preparations for a mass spread.

"It's not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses," she said. "Disruption to everyday life might be severe."

She pointed out that the concern and urgency over a mass spread have deepened over the last week.

"The data over the last week and spread in other countries has certainly raised our level of concern, and raised our level of expectation that we are going to have community spread here, so that has changed our tone," Messionner added.

At the time of this writing, at least 57 people in America have been infected with the coronavirus.

CNBC reports that the CDC has begun outlining pandemic planning.

The outlet also notes that there are more than 80,200 confirmed cases across the globe and at least 2,704 deaths as a result of the disease.

This is a developing story and will be updated as events warrant.

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