Trump to hold news conference on coronavirus US threat

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP/TEGNA) — President Donald Trump says he'll discuss the coronavirus threat at a White House news conference on Wednesday.

The session comes a day after he sought to minimize fears of the virus — called COVID-19 — spreading widely across the U.S. Trump said representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will join him.

Trump and members of his administration have been sending mixed signals about the virus. While the CDC has warned the public to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak, Trump said Tuesday that the situation is "very well under control in our country."

In a Tuesday news conference, officials at the CDC said spread of the virus in the U.S. was not a question of "if" but "when."

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC's director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said the virus was "rapidly evolving and spreading" and that as more countries experience the spread of the coronavirus, Americans may have to prepare for the possibility of a U.S. outbreak.

Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse said that concern comes from the likely chance that someone infected with coronavirus will come to the U.S. and start spreading the virus before they can be identified and isolated.

He stressed that there is no need for people in the U.S. to panic.

"We are anticipating that it is likely to occur at some point. Hopefully it won't, but we need to anticipate and behave as if it will at some point, so we can take advantage of the time we have now and change our behaviors and protect ourselves should it occur that it spreads in the United States," said Dr. Persse.

More than 80,000 people have been infected globally in the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 77,000 infections and more than 2,600 deaths have been reported in China.

In the U.S, 57 people have been infected. The CDC categorized these infections into separate categories: 14 have been infected in travel-related incidents and 43 infections were among individuals repatriated in the U.S. Of those 43, three infections were from individuals evacuated from Wuhan on charter flights and 40 cases were from individuals on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship that was quarantined in Japan earlier this month.