Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release new guidance soon for how different regions of the country should respond to the spread of coronavirus.
“We are working very closely with California, Washington state, New York, [and] Florida to develop community-specific recommendations for those areas where we’ve had what is known as community spread—a number of coronavirus cases that is being transmitted,” Pence said Tuesday at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House.
“In the next 24 hours, working with those states, we’ll be publishing the CDC’s recommendations for what ought to be done,” the vice president said.
Pence, head of the administration’s coronavirus task force, also announced that private insurance companies agreed to waive all co-pays for coronavirus testing and treatment.
The vice president said testing will be available at LabCorp and Quest Diagnostic locations and 4 million additional test kits will be sent out by the end of the week. He also said the administration is working with Congress to address reforms to ensure that more masks are available.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was blunt about the challenge.
“As of this morning, there were 712 [cases], I believe with 27 deaths,” Fauci said. “I guarantee by the time of this evening that is going to be up and there will be several more, and tomorrow there will be several more.”
Still, he said, as a nation, the risk is relatively low.
“There are parts of the country right now that are having community spread in which the risk there is clearly a bit more than that: Washington [state], California, New York, and Florida,” Fauci said.
Fauci said the federal government needs to be where the infection is going to be as well as where it is to get ahead of other community spread.
“As a nation, we can’t be doing the kind of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn’t matter if you are in a state that has one case or no cases,” Fauci added. “You have to start taking seriously what you can do now that if and when the infections will come. And they will come—sorry to say, sad to say—when you’re dealing with an infectious disease.”