Americans “Should Prepare For Community Spread,” CDC Warns As HHS’ Azar Admits US Lacks Mask Stockpile: Live Updates

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Tue, 02/25/2020

Summary:

WHO warns the rest of the world “is not ready for the virus to spread…”

CDC warns Americans “should prepare for possible community spread” of virus.

HHS Sec. Azar warns US lacks stockpiles of masks

Italy Hotel in Lockdown After First Coronavirus Case in Liguria

First case in Switzerland

First case in Austria

First case in Spain

Iran Deputy Health Minister infected with Covid-19

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Update (1145ET): US CDC says COVID-19 epidemic is rapidly evolving and expanding, warning that a vaccine could be ready in a year, and Americans should prepare for possible spreads in communities.

“Now is the time for businesses, hospitals, communities, and schools to begin preparing to respond to coronavirus.”

Additionally, HHS Secretary Alex Azar says at Senate panel hearing that the U.S. doesn’t have enough stockpiles of masks and ventilators to fight the coronavirus and that’s one reason the Trump administration is seeking $2.5b in funding.

About 30m so-called N95 respirator masks are stockpiled but as many as 300m are needed for healthcare workers, Azar says, adding that his department doesn’t yet know how much they would cost.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who questioned the administration’s readiness to battle the spread of the virus:

“I’m deeply concerned we’re way behind the eight ball on this,” Murray said while questioning Azar at the Appropriations subcmte hearing.

Azar also says the money would be used to help develop vaccines and treatments for the virus and that a vaccine could be ready in a year.

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Update (1100ET): WHO’s Bruce Aylward told journalists that China’s actions “prevented hundreds of thousands of cases” and warned that the rest of the world “is not ready for the virus to spread,” adding that “countries should instruct citizens now on hygeine.”

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Update (1001ET): A case of the novel corona virus has been confirmed for the first time in Switzerland. The federal government announced on Tuesday. One person was tested positive for the virus, said those responsible.

Italian officials stated that the first patient was “obviously infected in Italy,” and will consider further measures if they think “uncontrolled transmission” of the virus is occurring.

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Update (0950ET): Spanish authorities have confirmed the fourth case of coronavirus in Catalonia, according to La Vanguardia.

Jordan has banned flights arriving from Italy, becoming the first country in the region to guard against travelers from Europe’s third-largest economy.

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Update (0900ET): Iran’s MP Mahmoud Sadeghi said he had tested positive for the coronavirius, telling supporters: “I don’t have a lot of hope of continuing life in this world”.

CBS has confirmed that it was an Italian doctor visiting the Spanish isle of Tenerife who prompted all guests at his hotel to be confined to their rooms on Tuesday. The country has now confirmed nearly 60 cases on Tuesday.

In the UAE, home to long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad, airlines have suspended flights to and from Iran for at least a week, cutting the country’s 80 million people off from thousands of flights.

Unsurprisingly, the Dems were quick to slam the White House’s $2.5 billion spending plan that was sent lawmakers on Monday to address the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Democrats said the request fell far short of what’s needed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president’s request “long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency” in a statement released Monday. She added that the House would propose a “strong, strategic” funding package of its own to address the public health crisis.

Because nothing solves a public health crisis like a political stalemate.

“We have a crisis of coronavirus and President Trump has no plan, no urgency, no understanding of the facts or how to coordinate a response,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Trump joked in public remarks Tuesday that if he had authorized more, Chuck Schumer and the rest would be criticizing him, saying “it should be less.”

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For those who have been watching, CNBC has been talking up a storm about the drugmaker Moderna, which delivered its first experimental coronavirus vaccine for testing, with the clinical trial slated to start in April. The WSJ is supposedly one reason why market’s are clinging to optimism on Tuesday.

The CDC’s Dr. Fauci praised the development, said “nothing has ever gone that fast.”

“Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record. Nothing has ever gone that fast,” Dr. Fauci said.

As Jim Cramer won’t stop repeating Tuesday morning, the advances are “really remarkable.”

Finally, Austrian health officials have confirmed that at least one of the likely coronavirus patients isolated Tuesday was an Italian living in the country.

This comes after Italian authorities reported the first coronavirus case in the country’s south: a tourist visiting Sicily who had traveled from Bergamo, an Italian city in the Lombardy region.

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