Health officials warn of coronavirus reaching the US

In its strongest warning yet, the CDC all but promised that the coronavirus would spread to the U.S. and instructed Americans to prepare.
4:08 | 02/26/20

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Transcript for Health officials warn of coronavirus reaching the US
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy Tuesday night. And we begin tonight with that new warning from the CDC about the coronavirus here in the U.S., saying it is not a question of if, but when, and saying Americans should prepare. Tonight, the CDC reports the number of those sickened stand bls at 57 in the U.S., all of them in quarantine and in treatment. The warning comes in part after the virus spread quickly across several towns in Italy. More than 200 cases reported. At least ten people have died. And an Italian tourist testing positive on a Spanish resort island. A large hotel with 1,000 guests now on lockdown inside. And look at this tonight. In Iran, the deputy health minister testing positive for the virus after appearing visibly ill during a news conference meant to calm nerves about the outbreak. President trump tonight saying he thinks it's going to work out fine, but lawmakers on the hill asking questions. We begin with ABC's Steve osunsami at the CDC in Atlanta. Reporter: U.S. Health authorities tonight say there's no doubt we'll see mor this. Americans sick with the coronavirus, who need to be kept in isolation. The doors are specially sealed. Reporter: Carl Goldman is one of 57 Americans fighting the disease. We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare and the expectation that this could be bad. Reporter: In their most clear warning yet, the CDC all but promises that the coronvirus will spread here and that Americans need to prepare. We expect we will see community spread in this country. It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness. We really want to prepare the American public for the possibility that their lives will be disrupted because of this pandemic. Reporter: At a 3M factory in South Dakota, where they make masks and respirators that help protect from the disease, they're working 24/7 and still can't produce them fast enough. We were told by the experts nih, CDC, that there is a very strong chance of an extremely serious outbreak of the coronavirus here in the united States. Reporter: In a hearing in Washington today, the government shared that it could need about 300 million respirators to be used by health care workers, but only has about 30 million on-hand. That didn't go over well. You're head of homeland security. Do we have enough respirators or not? Reporter: What has authorities alarmed are the clusters of outbreaks happening outside of Asia that are not directly connected to Asia. On the canary islands, off the eastern coast of Africa, more than 1,000 tourists are trapped in a hotel because an Italian guest came down with the virus. In Italy, more than 322 confirmed cases, with ten people dead and they haven't even found the source of the outbreak. In Iran, at least 15 people were killed by the virus, and nearly a hundred are sick, including this health minister, who yesterday was on camera downplaying the danger as he's seen coughing and wiping his brow. Today, he learned he, too, has the coronavirus. The trump administration today was trying to bring calm to both the panic and the economic markets. Stocks are down today again. We have contained this. I won't say air tight. But pretty close to air tight. Reporter: The president says they're throwing everything at this. Very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, the people are getting better, they're all getting better. Reporter: They're hoping the virus dies out with warm weather. Let's get to Steve osunsami with us tonight. And Steve, I know we learned late today that some American college students studying abroad are now coming home from Italy tonight, at least one university? Reporter: That's right, David. Syracuse university is suspending its study abroad program because of the coronavirus in Florence, Italy. This effects some 342 students who they now have to bring home, make arrangements to get them back to the U.S. Currently, the U.S. Government has no travel restrictions to Italy because of the David? Steve osunsami tonight. Steve, thank you. We know a lot of you at home

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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