Coronavirus: White House adviser insists virus under control as CDC warns it is not

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Larry Kudlow spoke on the drive of the White House: Getty
Larry Kudlow spoke on the drive of the White House: Getty

There are contradictory reports regarding the potential for widespread coronavirus infections in the US, with the White House economic adviser saying that investors need not fear an escalating number of cases.

White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC on Tuesday that “We have contained this. I won't say [it's] air-tight, but it's pretty close to air-tight.”

He added that the coronavirus outbreak is a “human tragedy” but said it is unlikely to become an “economic tragedy”.

His comments come as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that Americans should prepare for the virus to disrupt daily life.

In addition, Mr Kudlow stands in contrast to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who told Congress that coronavirus is “an unprecedented, potentially severe health challenge globally”.

“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus, and we need to be realistic about that,” Mr Azar said.

Donald Trump is also downplaying the seriousness of the spread of coronavirus, telling journalists at a press conference in India: “I think that's a problem that's going to go away.”

US stocks fell for a second day on Tuesday as further deaths from the virus were reported in Asia and Europe, and spikes in infections were reported in South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Mr Kudlow also said that while markets will see “some stumbles”, the US was not yet experiencing any “supply disruptions”.

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