President Trump to visit CDC in Atlanta to highlight U.S. response to coronavirus

President Trump to visit CDC in Atlanta to highlight U.S. response to coronavirus
President Donald Trump speaks in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump is set to visit the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday as he tries to calm growing fears about the coronavirus outbreak, a senior White House official told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The visit was scheduled a day after health officials confirmed the first death in the U.S. from the coronavirus, leading the president to issue new restrictions on foreign travel and warn that additional cases of the illness are “likely.”

Officials with direct knowledge of the planning outlined the details of Trump’s trip to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. It will be the president’s eighth visit to Georgia and his first to the sprawling CDC complex.

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The president, who has faced criticism that he’s trivialized the extent of the threat, said he will also discuss a potential vaccine for the virus this week with health officials.

Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump has tasked with leading the coronavirus response, also announced the State Department would issue a “do not travel” alert for parts of Italy and South Korea affected by the virus.

Georgia health officials are bracing for the possibility of local cases of the virus, which has infected nearly 87,000 people across the globe.

There were more than 60 confirmed cases in the U.S. on Friday, including one patient in Washington State who died of the illness, but none reported in Georgia. Officials from the CDC warn it’s just a matter of time before the country sees more diagnoses.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday named a task force made up of several of his administration’s deputies, along with health and school officials, to identify the best ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Georgia.