“As we’ve seen from recent countries with community spread, when it has hit those countries, it has moved quite rapidly," Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at the conference. "We want to make sure the American public is prepared."
Messonnier also noted the increased risk of a domestic outbreak due to travel between countries like Italy, South Korea and Iran, all of which have seen recent coronavirus outbreaks.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder," Messonnier said.
There are currently 80,000 cases of coronavirus globally, with the majority being in mainland China. Domestically, there has been 53 confirmed cases of U.S. citizens with the virus; 14 cases from people who recently traveled to China, and another 39 Americans who have been affected abroad.