Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Americans to protect themselves and others from coronavirus by taking “common sense precautions,” like hand-washing and staying home if sick.
“Protect yourself and your community from coronavirus with common sense precautions: wash your hands, stay home when sick and listen to the @CDCgov and local health authorities,” the former President tweeted. “Save the masks for health care workers. Let’s stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science.”
His comment comes following fears of the virus’ outbreak in the US, and a botched roll out of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing that – combined with what some health officials now believe was too-strict criteria on who could be tested – caused a delay in testing that some health officials are increasingly concerned about.
There are at least 130 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus in the US, the CDC reported Wednesday afternoon, and 10 people have died from the virus nationally. Health officials have urged Americans to wash their hands as a method of protection and to stop buying masks out of concern of a shortage for health care workers.
Congressional negotiators on Wednesday struck a deal on a sweeping spending package to spend billions on dealing with the coronavirus, according to two sources involved with the talks. The White House is expected to back the deal, which is set to be voted on by the House Wednesday.
During a meeting with airline executives on Wednesday, President Donald Trump sought to reassure the public that the fatality rate from coronavirus could drop as more tests are done.
“If you add, you know, many, many people that have it and don’t know they have it, or think they have a cold and all of sudden they’re recovering from it, I think that number will probably be a lot different number,” the President said during the meeting.
Vice President Mike Pence also said in an off-camera briefing at the White House Tuesday evening that there was new guidance from the CDC that any American could be tested – “no restrictions, subject to doctors’ orders.” The announcement follows numerous complaints of citizens asking to be tested and turned away due to the strict CDC testing criteria. Pence said the new guidance will make clear “that any clinician or health authority can administer the test.”
The change was announced after confusion over how quickly the US could ramp up testing for roughly 1 million people for coronavirus. After suggesting Monday that the US would be able to test close to 1 million people for coronavirus by the end of the week, the Trump administration has since clarified – creating more confusion among frustrated people eager to protect themselves against the virus.
CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Curt Devine, Jeremy Herb, Kristen Holmes and Manu Raju contributed to this report.