- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that the risk from the coronavirus for most Americans “remains low,” but acknowledged that more could also die after a Washington state man became the virus’s first U.S. fatality.

Officials announced Saturday that the man in his 50s, who had underlying health conditions, had died after contracting the disease by “community spread,” as opposed to foreign travel or direct contact with an infected person.

“Now there will be more cases,” Mr. Pence said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” prompting moderator Jake Tapper to ask, “And possibly more deaths?”

“It is possible,” Mr. Pence replied. “The reality that Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and others explained to me since I took on these duties a few days ago, is that for most people that contract the coronavirus, they will recover, they will deal with a respiratory illness, we’ll get them treatment, but for people that have other conditions that would militate toward a worse outcome, we could have more sad news.”



Mr. Pence emphasized that the risk “remains low” and that the “good news is of the 22 Americans that have contracted the coronavirus, more than half of them are almost fully recovered.”

The vice president, who heads the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, made the rounds on the Sunday news shows to reassure Americans that the administration has a “whole-of-government approach” to combating the infectious disease.

He noted that Dr. Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other health experts have said that “the risk for the average American remains low.”

“And that is largely owing to the decision the president made, the energetic efforts of the CDC and local health officials, and we’ll continue to lead in that in a hopeful way,” said Mr. Pence.

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