Politics

Watch: Coronavirus task force holds press briefing as US outbreak expands

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Members of the task force created to address the deadly coronavirus outbreak are expected to hold a press briefing Monday at the White House. 

The Trump administration has been sending mixed messages to the public amid the expanding crisis. 

On Monday morning, Health Secretary Alex Azar stressed in an interview on Fox News that the United States regards the situation with gravity, saying the coronavirus "is a very serious health problem. Nobody is trying to minimize that."

But shortly after, as the stock market plunged, President Donald Trump appeared to downplay the impact of the outbreak in a tweet.

"So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on," he said. "At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to dozens of countries globally with more than 113,000 confirmed cases worldwide and at least 3,995 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

There have been at least 607 cases in the United States and at least 22 deaths, according to the latest tallies from John Hopkins University. 

The outbreak has roiled markets and led governments to take drastic actions as it rapidly spreads across the globe. 

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