Older Americans, especially those with chronic medical concerns, should probably avoid big social gatherings and airline flights, given the rapid spread of coronavirus, a top U.S. health official said on Sunday, as investors braced for another volatile week in financial markets.
Anthony Fauci, the head of the infectious diseases unit at the National Institutes of Health, also said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that after initial missteps distributing diagnostic tests, there should be 400,000 more kits available by Monday and 4 million by the end of the week.
The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus reached nearly 550 on Sunday, including 22 deaths, according to state public health authorities and a running national tally kept by the Johns Hopkins University center tracking the outbreak.
More than half of the 50 U.S. states have reported infections, including the first cases in Virginia, Connecticut and Iowa, as well as the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico, documented on Sunday.
Warnings from Fauci and others about the need for greater “social distancing” – the practice of minimizing unnecessary contact in public settings – came amid the disclosure of a high-profile example of the risks now inherent in large gatherings.